Working Model for Draped Reclining Figure 1976-79 (LH 705)


length 99cm

Moore’s first exploration of the possibilities of drapery in connection with figurative sculpture took place in the early 1950s, when the demands of a specific commission combined with his free use of plaster in preparation for the casting of the work in bronze culminated in Draped Reclining Figure 1952–53 (LH 336). This successfully added the contours of natural forms as well as a distinct hint of classicism to the repose of his figures, yet preserved that sense of immutability conveyed by the Mexican Chacmool figures that had so profoundly influenced the younger artist. Made towards the end of his life, the travertine Draped Reclining Figure 1978 (LH 706) can be seen as a reworking of the 1950s piece in which all the characteristic features of the original are still evident: the upright neck and head supported on powerful elbows, the repetition of this shape in the draped and elevated knees, the pronounced adherence of the sculpture to its base, even the woman’s distant gaze. In this working model, we can see how the figure’s poise and Moore’s apparently ad hoc scorings to represent the drapery in marble were clearly planned before carving began, showing his intention to create a satisfying – yet logical – pendant to the earlier bronze.