The first life-size reclining figure and the greatest work of Henry Moore’s prodigious oeuvre, Reclining Figure: Festival (1951) stands as a testament to the artist’s defining role in the history of Modern sculpture. Originally created for the era-defining Festival of Britain in 1951, Moore's Reclining Figure shocked audiences with its radical definition of space and interpretation of the human figure, transforming the very concept of Modern sculpture and forever altering the direction of the artist's career.
With its topographical recesses and abstracted attenuation of the human body, Moore’s pioneering Reclining Figure: Festival proved a uniquely poetic encapsulation of the era. Having evolved out of his repeated explorations of the recumbent form since the 1920s, Reclining Figure: Festival marked a crowning achievement in the artist's quest for balance, both in terms of its intrinsic qualities and the extrinsic context. Moore intentionally paid little mind to the intended site for his work, aiming instead to create a sculpture which would be at home in any environment and viewable from all angles.
Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure will be offered as a part of the Modern Evening Auction on 14 November at Sotheby’s New York.