Moore's monumental Goslar Warrior is the culmination of a theme that the artist first approached in the early 1950s. One of only six life-sized models focused on a solitary male figure, this work is unique within Moore's oeuvre. Goslar Warrior is the final and fully-developed iteration of three models dealing specifically with the warrior. When he completed this work in 1974, Moore essentialized his figure to a series of corporeal tensions and negative spaces. The soft curves that dominate his reclining female figures give way here to a dynamic push and pull of bodily forces.
Resonant in the Goslar Warrior is the influence of Classical sculpture (fig. 1). Many of Moore's sculptures are informed by historical precedent, particularly primitive and ancient sculpture. His turn to Classical subject matter with the warrior series arises after a trip to Greece in 1951. Moore describes the impetus for this important series of sculptures: "The idea of the warrior came to me at the end of 1952 or very early 1953. It was evolved from a pebble I found on the seashore in the summer of 1952. This sculpture is the first single and separate male figure that I have done in sculpture and carrying it out in its final large scale was almost like the discovery of a new subject matter; the bony, edgy, tense forms were a great excitement to make... Like the bronze Draped Reclining Figure of 1952-1953 I think The Warrior has some Greek influence, not conciously wished for but perhaps the result of my visit to Athens and other parts of Greece in 1951" (quoted in P. James, ed., Henry Moore on Sculpture: A Collection of the Sculptor's Writings and Spoken Words, London, 1966, p. 250).
By the time he completed Goslar Warrior, Moore's work had assumed a dominant position in the canon of Modern sculpture. His influence on future generations was already keenly felt and a work such as the Goslar Warrior exemplifies his ability to revitalize historical subjects in a groundbreaking gesture. Jean Clay has written eloquently of Moore's connection to historic sculpture and its significance to late twentieth century art: "While all modern sculpture is exploding and soaring, Moore sinks into the earth, archaic and immutable, closer to prehistory than to the year 2000, even tough he was born in the heart of the industrial world. He was not made to speak of our era: speed, stridence, permanent metamorphosis, constant wear, flashing distractions. He was made to remind us of our peasant past, our umbilical cord with mother nature, our brotherhood with the primitive peoples and the cave man... What he works out, day after day, is in fact the face of our lost secrets" (quoted in Dorothy Kosinski, ed., Henry Moore, Sculpting the 20th Century (exhibition catalogue), Dallas Museum of Art, 2001, p. 27).
According to the Henry Moore Foundation, Goslar Warrior was cast in a numbered edition of seven, plus one artist's proof at the Hermann Noack foundry in Berlin. Other casts of the present work are in the collections of the City of Goslar, Germany; the City of Santa Cruz, Tenerife; Original Masterworks California, San Diego and the Hyogo Museum, Kobe.
Length: 118 1/4 in. 300.3 cm
Franco Russoli & David Mitchinson, Henry Moore, Sculpture, London, 1981, nos. 533-535, illustrations of another cast pp. 252-255
Allen Bowness, ed., Henry Moore: Sculpture 1974-1980, vol. 5, London, 1983, no. 641, another cast illustrated pls. 1-3, pp. 18-19
Susan Compton, Henry Moore, New York, 1988, no. 191, illustrations of another cast pp. 121 and 266
David Mitchinson, ed., Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of The Henry Moore Foundation, London, 1998, no. 233, another cast illustrated pp. 305-307
Dorothy Kosinski, Henry Moore, Sculpting the 20th Century (exhibition catalogue), The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and The Dallas Museum of Art, 2001-2002, no. 94, another cast illustrated pp. 238 & 311
C. Lichtenstern, Henry Moore: Work, Theory, Impact, London, 2008, no. 174, another cast illustrated pp. 144-145
Moore in America (exhibition catalogue), The New York Botanical Garden, New York, 2008, another cast illustrated p. 62
Ida Kimche Gallery, Zurich & Tel Aviv
The Estate of Eugene Klein (sold: Sotheby's, New York, November 6, 1991, lot 31)
Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago (acquired at the above sale)
Acquired from the above