The present sculpture is a maquette for an important sculpture undertaken by Moore in 1952, when he was commissioned to devise a large-scale piece for the Time-Life building in New Bond Street, London. 'Draped Reclining Figure' was cast in an edition of three. Today one cast belongs to the Henry Moore Foundation and is on display in their sculpture garden around Moore's old house at Perry Green, Hertfordshire. Other copies in the edition are in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany.
Though accustomed to designing nudes, given the public nature of the project Moore felt a clothed figure more appropriate and. Moreover, following a recent series of visits to Greece in the early 1950s, Moore admired the effect used in ancient Greek sculpture known as “wet-drapery”. Thus he set about creating his first major draped figure.
Moore recognised that by adding fabric he could “stress the sculptural idea of the figure”. Here the sculpted fabric clings to shoulders, breasts and thighs to reveal the interior tension of the body. While the figure is positioned close to the ground, she rests upon her elbows and balances herself with a strong torso. Moore later asserted, “Although static, this figure is not meant to be slack in repose but, as it were, alerted’. The addition of fabric also showcases the exceptional intricacy of Moore’s modelling technique. With plaster, as opposed to stone carving, he was able to produce minute wrinkles and creases in the surface of his maquette, thus achieving greater realism.
Loula D. Lasker, New York
Bezalel National Museum, Israel (bequest of the above in 1961)
Israel Museum acquired from the above in 1965
Alan Bowness, ed., 'Henry Moore, Complete Sculpture', vol 2, London, 1986, no. 335, illustration of another cast p. 44