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Henry Moore

Artwork Details

1927; cast 1949
Henry Moore
bronze with marble base
7 1/2 in x 8 7/8 in x 5 1/4 in (19.05 cm x 22.54 cm x 13.34 cm)
Gift of Dr. & Mrs. Marvin E. Klein

On Display

Not currently on display


Reclining Bird uses the forceful image of a bird vigorously resisting being on its back in order to represent the struggle of life and flight. Moore is famous for his interpretation of human bodies, but in this piece, he turns to the form of a bird. "The human figure is what interests me most deeply, but I have found principles of form and rhythm from the study of natural objects," he said. A crucial aspect of that rhythm for Moore is the capturing of an organism’s life-energy; he explained his work by saying that "Force, Power, is made by forms straining or pressing from inside." Through abrupt shifts in planes and boldly abstracted forms, Moore succeeded in imbuing his sculpture with the urgency of life even in the medium of cold, heavy metal.
As part of the so-called St. Ives School, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth developed unique visual metaphors that combined human and nonhuman associations in their search for an expressive sculptural language.
(A. Dixon, 20th Century Gallery installation, June 1999)

Subject Matter:

This is one of Moore's early sculptures and shows his interest in the archaic modernism popular at the time. Though he uses casting, early sculptures like Bird reflect the contemporary sculptural debates; the angular lines of Moore's Bird, details like the eyes and smooth surface ally with the aesthetics of direct carving without moving outside the medium of bronze, a modeled medium. However, the subject matter points to the sculptor's interest in weight; the bird is shown here flightless, laying on its back heavily. 

Physical Description:

Abstract, planar representation of a bird resting on its back with its wings coming together just below its beak.

Usage Rights:

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