Henry Moore (born Castleford 1898) is known for his lifelong fascination and "absolute obsession" with the reclining figure. About a third of Moore's artistic output consisted of reclining figures over the course of his career, both drawings and sculptures.
In this display, two sculptures from Wakefield?s Collection are shown alongside small-scale maquettes and a large bronze on loan from The Henry Moore Foundation. They illustrate Moore?s interest in the reclining figure as a vehicle for artistic experimentation. Moore said:
?The vital thing for an artist is to have a subject that allows [him] to try out all kinds of formal ideas ? things that he doesn?t yet know about for certain but wants to experiment with? In my case the reclining figure provides chances of that sort. The subject-matter is given. It?s settled for you, and you know it and like it, so that within it, within the subject that you?ve done a dozen times before, you are free to invent a completely new form-idea.?
When he left Leeds College of Art in 1921 to study at the Royal College in London, Moore made weekly visits to the British Museum where he felt "like a starved man having Selfridge's grocery department all to himself". He familiarised himself with the ancient cultures of Africa, Egypt, Greece and Rome, but it was the figure of the Chac-Mool, a Pre-Columbian statue in the form of a reclining figure, in which he found most inspiration.
The maquettes show some of the different approaches Moore took with the reclining figure, illustrating his interest in classical and primitive sculpture, landscape and nature.
This display also marks Castleford Forum?s opening in autumn 2013 where the third reclining figure by Moore in Wakefield?s Collection will be displayed, Working Model for Draped Reclining Figure, 1979, gifted by the artist in 1980.