Henry Moore 1898-1986Family Group, 1944 Bronze. Conceived in 1944 and cast in 1956 in an edition of 9 plus 1 artist’s proof at the Gaskin Foundry, London 5 5/8 x 3 7/8 x 2 5/8 in, 14.2 x 9.8 x 6.7 cm
This sculpture is from Henry Moore’s poignant and highly personal ‘Family Group’ series (c.1943-44) in which he portrayed parents protectively holding small children in their arms. Moore created a series...
This sculpture is from Henry Moore’s poignant and highly personal ‘Family Group’ series (c.1943-44) in which he portrayed parents protectively holding small children in their arms. Moore created a series of fourteen ‘Family Group’ sculptures, four in clay and ten in bronze, examples of which are now held in the Tate, London and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He also filled nearly two sketchbooks of drawings of family groups with some being turned into maquettes, such as the present work, as well as his first large bronze sculpture ‘Family Group’ of 1949.
The concept of the family groups initially developed before the war when Moore was asked to create a sculpture for the Impington Village College, designed by Walter Gropius and Maxwell Fry. The school was to become a focus for families of the community and so Moore suggested the subject of family. Having long been fascinated with the Mother and Child motif, “the idea of connecting parents and children” immediately came into his mind. Unfortunately, the project was never realised due to lack of funding, but Moore continued to explore the theme throughout the 1940s.
The ‘Family Group’ series held deep personal significance for Moore, who was trying with his wife for a family of their own at the time: “The whole family group idea was so close to one as a person; we were just going to have our first child Mary, and it was an obsession”. In the present work the family sit closely together, with the father protectively placing a hand upon the mother’s shoulder as she cradles the baby in her lap. The sculpture marks a shift from Moore’s other war time works, most notably his shelter drawings which have figures huddled together in the London Underground. Here, the figures sit proudly with hope for the future and next generation resting in their child.
‘Family Group’ previously belonged to Edgar Young, Steward of the Lincoln Center Project and trusted adviser to John D. Rockefeller III. Young oversaw the construction of eight of the Lincoln Center’s buildings, acting as executive vice president and chairman of the building committee. He published the book ‘Lincoln Center: The Building of an Institution’ in 1980. Other casts of this sculpture are held in the San Diego Museum of Art and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.
Edgar B. Young & Jane White Young, New York (acquired from the artist November 26 1965)
Private Collection, USA (acquired from the above 2002)
David Sylvester (ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture, vol.
1, London, no.231, pp. 14 and 146, illus. of the terracotta version
David Mitchinson et al., Celebrating Moore, Works from the Collection of The Henry Moore Foundation, London, 1998, no.143, p.209, illus. of another cast
John Hedgecoe, Monumental Vision: The Sculpture of Henry Moore, London, 1998, no. 234, illus. of the terracotta version
This work is recorded in the archives of the Henry Moore Foundation.