Artwork by Henry Moore,  Head, 1981
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Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703

Henry Moore
Head, 1981

bronze with brown patination
incised signature and stamped edition (5/9); mounted on an acrylic base
4 x 2.8125 x 2.5625 ins ( 10.2 x 7.1 x 6.5 cms ) ( overall (excluding base) )

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Provenance:
Acquired directly from the artist by Dominion Gallery, Montreal (in 1983)
Private Collection, Montreal
Waddington’s, Auction of International Art, Toronto, May 16, 2006, lot 38
A Private Canadian Collection
Literature:
Alan Bowness (ed), “Henry Moore, Volume 6: Complete Sculpture 1981-86”, London, 1999, page 44, No. 834, for another work from this series, illustrated
Throughout his career, Henry Moore was always fascinated by the human form. From monumental statues to intimate sculptures of a few inches in size, the prolific artist explored the human body in great depth. Head, a four-inch-tall bronze, showcases Moore’s talent to depict his preferred subject on all scale levels. This intimate work is composed of an irregularly shaped oval form, with a defined nose and mouth, but with two asymmetrical and off-centre bumps as eyes. From a particular angle, the skull appears carefully sculpted with a smooth finish; from another angle, a rugged bronze surface completes the other side of the head and face. The neck is once again a more uneven bronze mass. Yet with only two features prominently defined, Moore has successfully delivered a fully expressive three-dimensional human head. The smooth curves contrasted with the uneven sections, all covered with a shiny patina, present a tactile quality that lures in the viewer to touch the artwork.

Moore was influenced by many historical artists who were known for their talent for depicting the human form, from the traditional to the avant-garde. As a young student he particularly admired Michelango’s marble sculptures. In the 1930s, Moore became an active member of the informal modern art movement in the UK, centred around the ideas and innovation of artists like Pablo Picasso and Jean Arp. Head shows affinities to the abstract and curvaceous sculptures of figures, as well as the figures of Picasso’s early Cubism.
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Preview this item at:

Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703


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Henry Moore
(1898 - 1986)

Henry Moore is one of Britain’s most significant artists of the twentieth century as well as a highly influential figure in modern sculpture. Born in a small coal-mining town of Castleford, Yorkshire in the north of England, he was the seventh out of a family of eight children. Despite an early ambition to be a sculptor, Moore followed his father’s wish to become a schoolteacher. His studies got cut short due to World War I, when he enlisted in the British Army and was sent to France. After suffering from the effects of gas shells, he returned to England and in 1919 was given a rehabilitation grant, which he used to attend the Leeds School of Art. Moore studied drawing and sculpture during his two years of studies. He then passed the sculpture examination and was awarded a Royal Exhibition scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art in London. In September 1921 he moved to London and began three years of advanced study in sculpture; he took his diploma at the Royal College after two years and spent a third year doing postgraduate work. What was most significant about Moore’s stay in London was not his schooling but his exposure to the important works of art in the city’s major museums. He was particularly inspired by the collection of Egyptian, Etruscan and Classical sculpture at the British Museum.

Upon graduating from the Royal College in 1924, Moore was appointed a part-time instructor in sculpture there for a seven-year term. He began working in 1926 on depictions of reclining women, which would become his most famous and recognizable subject. He was also carving a variety of subjects in stone, including half-length female figures, mother-and-child groups, and masks and heads. In the early 1930s, Moore’s circle of artistic friends were fascinated by abstract art, though it was considered controversial to critics and the general public at the time. In his own work from 1931 onward, Moore moved tentatively away from the human figure to experiment with abstract shapes and a combination of the two themes. In 1931 he had the first of many one-man exhibitions in the Leicester Galleries in London. His work aroused violent criticism in the press and made Moore a notorious figure. When his contract at the Royal College expired in 1932, he left to start a sculpture department at the Chelsea School of Art, also in London.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Moore left London for a more rural life in Hertfordshire. Due to a shortage of materials in the early years of the war forced Moore to concentrate on small sculptures and drawing.

Moore cemented his international reputation in 1946, following a major retrospective exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This year also marked the artist’s first visit to the United States. Moore’s reputation as an outstanding sculptor was further established when he won the sculpture prize at the 1948 Venice Biennale.

As Moore got older, he became less concerned with his public role as a modern sculptor and more inclined to pursue his private interests. He also accepted many commissions for public art installations during the 1960s. In 1977 he established the Henry Moore Foundation to encourage wider enjoyment and opportunities in the arts. In addition, Moore became a prolific printmaker, executing hundreds of etchings and lithographs from the late 1960s up until his death in 1986.