British, 1898-1986

"Mother and Child on Ladderback Rocking Chair," 1952

edition of 9 +1, Foundry: Gaskin
height: 8 1/4 inches, 21 cm.

  • Provenance: The artist; Curt Valentin for Mrs. Vera List directly from the artist (July 1952); Mrs. Vera List, philanthropist and supporter of contemporary art, Greenwich, Connecticut; descended in the family until the present; Private Collection, Connecticut.
  • Literature: John Hedgecoe and Henry Moore, "Henry Moore," (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968), p. 178 (another cast illus., fig. 1); Robert Melville, "Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings, 1921-1969," (London: Thames & Hudson, 1970), no. 429 (another cast illus.); Philip James, "Henry Moore on Sculpture," (New York, Viking, 1971), p. 140, no. 222 (another cast illus.); Alan Bowness, ed. and David Mitchinson, "Henry Moore, Sculpture, 1949-1954," (London: Lund Humphries, 1986), vol. 2, p. 39, no. 312 (another cast illus.); Susan Compton, "Henry Moore," (New York: Scribner's, 1988), p. 231, no. 123 (another cast illus.).
  • Notes: This work is registered in the Henry Moore Foundation archives as LH 312 cast a, and research file number 2020.29. We are grateful to the Henry Moore Foundation for their assistance cataloging this lot.

    "The rocking chair sculptures were done for my daughter Mary, as toys which actually rock. I discovered while doing them that the speed of the rocking depended on the curvature of the base and the disposition of the weights and balances of the sculpture, so each of them rocks at a different speed."
    — Henry Moore, 1968.

    Mother and Child on Ladderback Rocking Chair is a rare example from an edition of only 10 cast by the artist. The last one from this edition sold in 2015 for $773,000; none have been offered at auction in the six years since. Moore developed a keen interest in the subject of the mother and child in the late 1940s and through the 1950s. His own daughter, Mary, was born in 1946. The use of abstract forms, small-scale and rocking base make this a highly relatable work. It is filled with love, playfulness and tenderness— themes found across Henry Moore's works that helped launch him to international fame. This cast of Mother and Child On Ladderback Rocking Chair was purchased from Henry Moore for Mrs. List by the artists' New York dealer Curt Valentin (Buchholz Gallery) in 1952.
    Henry Moore is one of the most significant British artists of the twentieth century. He was born on 30 July 1898 in Castleford, Yorkshire, the son of a miner and the seventh of eight children.

    As a schoolboy Moore showed a talent for art but was encouraged to train as a teacher first. He did not enjoy teaching and signed up to serve in the British Army during the First World War. He was injured in 1917 by a gas attack during the Battle of Cambrai.

    In 1919, thanks to an ex-serviceman's grant, Moore became a student at the Leeds School of Art. He went on to attend the Royal College of Art in London in 1921. Moore later taught at the College and met Irina Radetsky, whom he married in 1929.

    Numerous commissions and exhibitions in the 1930s enabled Moore's reputation as a leading avant-garde artist to grow, but in 1939 war broke out again. Moore was recruited as an official war artist and produced his now famous drawings of people sheltering in the London Underground during the Blitz.

    In September 1940, the Moores' London flat was damaged by bombing and the couple moved to Perry Green, Hertfordshire. Hoglands, a farmhouse in the hamlet, became home for the rest of their lives. Their daughter Mary was born in 1946. Over time, Moore developed outbuildings into studios and Irina created beautiful gardens. Landscape was important to Moore and his work is often associated with nature. The human body is another recurring motif in the artist's work and in Perry Green the analogies between the body and landscape could be readily explored.

    International success characterised Moore's career from the 1950s onward. In 1977 he established the Henry Moore Foundation to encourage wider enjoyment and opportunities in the arts.

    In August 1986 Henry Moore died in Perry Green.1
    1 Biographical information from the Henry Moore Foundation, https://www.henry-moore.org/about-henry-moore/biography (date accessed: September 1, 2021).

    Tags: Modern / Contemporary, sculpture, European, listed artist
  • Condition: In original untouched condition, recommend cleaning.

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