Henry Moore, ‘Working Model for Mother and Child: Hood’, 1982, Lillian Heidenberg Fine Art

Moore was invited to make a large-scale sculpture for St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and settled on a newly abstracted version of the theme that had occupied him during his entire career: the mother and child. Moore said of the idea, “I can’t get this Madonna and Child out of my mind. It may be my last work, and I want to give it the feel of having a religious connotation” (as cited in Henry Moore: The Human Dimension, op. cit, p. 137).

The full-scale version of Mother and Child: Hood was executed in Travertine marble in 1983 and it was indeed Moore’s last major work. At the end of his life, Moore produced this touchingly beautiful image of a mother’s tender embrace of her young child, with a delicate arch of the mother’s head as she gazes down. The recess in which the child rests suggests both a womb and a tender embrace, with its polished edges giving the child a type of halo. This moving sculpture can be read both in relation to other images of the Madonna and Child as well as to the more general theme of new life and the intimate connection between mother and child.

New York, James Goodman Gallery, Henry Moore, 1985
San Diego Museum of Art, on extended loan (1987-2003)

David Mitchinson, Moore, The New Work: Working Models, Maquettes, Reliefs, Drawings, Etchings, Lithographs, New York, 1983, illustration of another cast on the cover

Alan Bowness, ed., Henry Moore: Complete Sculpture, 1980-86, vol. 6, London, 1988, no. 850, illustrations of another cast p. 49 & pl. 98

Henry Moore: The Human Dimension (exhibition catalogue), London, 1991, no. 114, illustration of another cast p. 137

Weintraub Gallery, New York
Sale: Christie’s, New York, May 14, 1986, lot 61

About Henry Moore

Often regarded as the father of modern British sculpture, Henry Moore’s large-scale bronze and marble sculptures can be found in public parks and plazas around the world. Working in various styles and mediums, Moore is perhaps best known for his highly abstract and interpretive renditions of the human figure, often portrayed in the reclining position. He was influenced by Classical, Pre-Columbian, and African art, and by Surrealism; his biomorphic style has been compared that of Salvador Dalí and Jean Arp. Moore was a longtime friend and colleague of fellow sculptor Barabara Hepworth, having met at the Leeds School of Art around 1919. He also admired the work of Constantin Brancusi, whose organic abstract style resonated with Moore’s belief that observation of nature is essential to artistic creation. Moore himself inspired many artists including his former studio assistants Anthony Caro and Richard Wentworth.

British, 1898-1986, Castleford, United Kingdom, based in Much Hadham, United Kingdom