Working Model for Hill Arches’ is a preparatory study for one of Henry Moore’s most ambitious and monumental late sculptures – ‘Hill Arches’. Realised in 1973, it comes from a group of outdoor bronzes that included ‘Locking Piece’, ‘The Arch’ and ‘Sheep Piece’. Moore originally conceived ‘Hill Arches’ to be placed in a field opposition his studio in Perry Green.
The undulating curves and dynamic movement between the shapes in ‘Working Model for Hill Arches’ are reminiscent of the Yorkshire landscape where Moore grew up. The organic rhythms form the impression of rolling hills on the horizon, while the interlocking shapes generate landscape within itself.
While its title roots this sculpture in nature, with all of Moore’s practice there is an undeniably human reference to the shapes. The two arching forms have elements of an abstracted mother and child or couple with the larger form leaning protectively over the smaller.
Working models were an important part of Moore’s practice, with the artist using them to physicalise his ideal before scaling up to a larger size. The present work was a means for Moore to envisage the experience of walking round the sculpture, viewing each element from a different angle to see how they worked in harmony.
The Henry Moore Foundation keeps both a bronze and plaster cast of ‘Working Model for Hill Arches’. Casts of ‘Hill Arches’ can be found in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and opposite the Karlskirche in Vienna.