Standing Figure: Knife Edge 1961 (LH 482)


height 284.5cm

Norton Simon Art Foundation M.1970.4.1.S

This sculpture has been called Standing Figure – Knife-Edge also Standing Figure – Bone and again, Winged Figure. All three titles have some relevance to what it is, and how it came about.

Since my student days I have liked the shape of bones, and have drawn them, studied them in the Natural History Museum, found them on sea-shores and saved them out of the stewpot.There are many structural, and sculptural principles to be learnt from bones, e.g. that in spite of their lightness they have great strength. Some bones, such as the breast bones of birds, have the lightweight fineness of a knife-blade. Finding such a bone led to me using this knife-edge thinness in 1961 in a sculpture Seated Woman (thin neck) [LH 472]. In this figure the thin neck and head, by contrast with the width and bulk of the body, give more monumentality to the work. Later in 1961 I used this knife-edged thinness throughout a whole figure, and produced this Standing Figure.

Henry Moore quoted in James, Phillip, Henry Moore on Sculpture; a collection of the sculptor’s writings and spoken words, Macdonald. London 1966, p.278