St Louis


Reclining Figure 1932 (LH 122)


carved reinforced concrete
length 103cm

There are three fundamental poses of the human figure. One is standing, the other is seated, and the third is lying down. Now if you like to carve the human figure in stone, as I do, the standing pose is no good. Stone is not so strong as bone, and the figure will break off at the ankles and topple over. The early Greeks solved this problem by draping the figure and covering the ankles. Later on they supported it against a silly tree trunk.

But with either the seated or the reclining figure one doesn’t have this worry. And between them are enough variations to occupy any sculptor for a lifetime. In fact if I were told that from now on I should have stone only for seated figures I should not mind at all.

But of the three poses, the reclining figure gives most freedom compositionally and spatially. The seated figure has to have something to sit on. You can’t free it from its pedestal. A reclining figure can recline on any surface. It is free and stable at the same time. It fits in with my belief that sculpture should be permanent, should last for eternity. Also, it has repose, it suits me - if you know what I mean.

Henry Moore quoted in Henry Moore Comes to America, Magazine of Art, Morse Vol 40 No.3, Washington D.C. 1947, pp.97-101