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Henry Moore

/Works and biography

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Three Standing Figures, 1953
Bronze, 73.2 x 68 x 29 cm, including base
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 76.2553 PG 194
Reproduced by permission of the Henry Moore Foundation


In its abstraction of the human figure and exaggeration of isolated anatomical features, this work is related to African sculpture and to the Surrealist sculpture of Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti. Within Henry Moore’s own body of work, Three Standing Figures can be seen in connection with the “shelter” drawings of the early 1940s, in which the artist explored the psychological interaction of groups, and with the monumental Three Standing Figures of 1947–49 erected at Battersea Park in London. Classicizing elements of the latter, however remote, endure in the present work. The grouping of three figures, their contrapposto stances, the variety of rhetorical gestures, and the echoes of drapery creases and swags provide visual analogies with ancient sources. Typically, Moore conflates the human figure with the forms of inanimate natural materials such as bone and rock. The perforations through the mass of the sculptured bodies suggest a slow process of erosion by water or wind.

credits: Hangar Design Group