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Henry Moore, O.M., C.H., DRAPED RECLINING MOTHER AND BABY\nInscribed Moore, numbered 8/9 and with the foundry mark Morris Singer Foundry, London\nBronze\nLength: 264.5cm., 104 1/8 in.\nExecuted in 1983 and cast in bronze in an edition of 9.


The subject of the reclining figure, explored in this monumental work, is probably the single most iconic image of Henry Moore's oeuvre. Initially inspired by Mexican sculpture, this subject recurs throughout the artist's career, ranging from organic forms to near-abstract, geometric ones, and including several monumental versions. Writing about Moore's large outdoor sculptures, David Sylvester commented: 'They are made to look as if they themselves had been shaped by nature's energy. They seem to be weathered, eroded, tunnelled-into by the action of wind and water. The first time Moore published his thoughts about art, he wrote that the sculpture which moved him most gave out 'something of the energy and power of great mountains' [...] Moore's reclining figures are not supine; they prop themselves up, are potentially active. Hence the affinity with river-gods; the idea is not simply that of a body subjected to the flow of nature's forces but of one in which those forces are harnessed' (D. Sylvester, Henry Moore, New York & London, 1968, p. 5).

The theme of the mother protecting her child is one of the key subjects in Moore's art, appearing from the early stages of his career. It became particularly intensive in his so-called 'shelter drawings' executed during the War years. This image, which often evolved into family groups, received a new impetus after the birth of Moore's daughter in 1946. The artist himself commented about this theme: 'From very early on I had an obsession with the mother and child theme. It has been a universal theme from the beginning of time and some of the earliest sculptures we've found from the Neolithic Age are of a mother and child. I discovered when drawing, I could turn every little scribble, blot or smudge into a Mother and Child. So that I was conditioned, as it were, to see it in everything. I suppose it could be explained as a 'Mother' complex' (H. Moore & J. Hedgecoe, Henry Moore, New York, 1968, p. 61).

Whilst Moore usually rendered the image of the reclining female in the nude, in the present work she is covered by a drapery, and it is this juxtaposition between the soft folds of the fabric, and the strong, solid forms of the figure's body, that lends the work much of its vitality. It was whilst working on his 'shelter drawings' that Moore became increasingly absorbed in the manner in which drapery could denote sculptural volume. David Sylvester considered Moore's use of drapery as a method of further integrating his figures into the landscape. According to him, the artist used 'the folds to create a variant of the metaphor of the figure as a landscape [...] to connect the contrasts of sizes of folds, small, fine and delicate, in other places big and heavy, with the form of mountains, which are the crinkles skin of the earth' (D. Sylvester, op. cit., p. 109). With its heavy, solid forms, the female figure sheltering a child appears close to the earth, and the mountainous force described by Sylvester can be seen in the volume of her body.

Other casts of Draped Reclining Mother and Baby are at the Henry Moore Foundation in Much Hadham, England; Hoam Museum of Art in Seoul; Biltmore Commerce Center in Phoenix, Arizona; Fukuoka Art Museum and Tokushima Modern Art Museum in Japan. Moore also executed a Maquette (A. Bowness (ed.), op. cit., no. 820) and a working model (A. Bowness (ed.), op. cit., no. 821) for this monumental sculpture.




Henry Moore


Length: 264.5cm., 104 1/8 in.


Alan Bowness (ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture 1980-86, London, 1988, vol. 6, no. 822, illustrations of another cast p. 41 and pl. 70-72


Alex Rosenberg, New York (acquired from the artist in February 1986)

Private Collection

Miyagi Prefecture Museum, Japan

Private Collection

Ruth Ziegler Fine Arts, New York

Acquired from the above by the present owner in November 1999

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.