Reclining Figure, 1939

  • Henry Moore, English, 1898-1986


  • Overall: 37 × 79 × 30 inches (94 × 200.7 × 76.2 cm)

Founders Society Purchase with funds from the Dexter M. Ferry, Jr. Trustee Corporation


On View

  • Modern N2EE


European Modern Art to 1970

Like many pioneers of twentieth-century art, Henry Moore drew greater inspiration from the primitive and archaic than from classical sources, lending his sculpture a timelessness that guaranteed its endurance in an age of changing fashions. The reclining female nude was Moore's favorite subject. Treating the female form like the earth from which, in myth, it had been molded, the sculptor transformed female curves and cavities into a metaphor for terrestrial hills and dales. Moore attracted the attention of the surrealists and of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung because of his use of biomorphic forms, archetypal imagery, and his awareness of the collective unconscious. Reclining Figure is one of the rare major sculptures by Moore carved in wood.

Gordon Onslow-Ford. 1965-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Onslow-Ford, Gordon. "The Wooden Giantess of Henry Moore." London Bulletin 18–20 (June 1940): 10, pp. 10, 12 (ill.). Valentiner, W.R. Origins of Modern Sculpture. New York, 1946, pp. xiv, 125 (ill.), 142. Henry Moore: Sculptures and Drawings. New York, 1944, pp. xi, pl. 87a, 87b (ill.). Sweeney, James Johnson. Henry Moore. Exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1946, pp. 62–64 (ill.), 19, no. 48. [dated 1939–1940, as in the collection of Miss Elizabeth Onslow-Ford] Sylvester, A.D.B. "The Evolution of Henry Moore’s Sculpture: 1." Burlington Magazine 90, no. 543 (June 1948): 158–165, pp. 163–165 (ill.). Henry, Philip. "Henry Moore: His New Exhibition." Britain Today, no. 158 (June 1949): p. 32, 36 (ill.). Artists and Maecenas: A Tribute to Curt Valentin. Exh. cat., Marlborough-Gerson Gallery. New York, 1963, p. 56, fig. 98 (ill.). Bowness, Alan. Modern Sculpture. New York, 1965, p. 95 (ill.). Read, Herbert. Henry Moore: A study of his life and work. London, 1965, pp. 128, 133 (ill.), 272, no. 115. Hall, Donald. Henry Moore: The Life and Work of a Great Sculptor. New York, 1966, pp. 81–82 (ill.), 90, 98–100 (ill.). James, Philip. "Introduction." In Henry Moore on Sculpture. New York, 1966, pp. 17–19, figs. 1–2 (ill.). The W. Hawkins Ferry Collection. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1966, unpaginated, cat. 45. Roberts, Keith. "Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions: London." Burlington Magazine 110, no. 786 (September 1968): 528–530, pp. 529–530 (ill.). Cummings, Frederick J. and Charles H. Elam, eds. The Detroit Institute of Arts Illustrated Handbook. Detroit, 1971, p. 180 (ill.). Carandente, Giovanni, ed. Mostra di Henry Moore. Exh. cat., City of Florence and the British Council. Florence, 1972, p. 48. Fezzi, Elda. Henry Moore. London, 1972, pp. 31, 52 (ill.), 90, no. 7. Russell, John. Henry Moore. Harmondsworth, 1973, pp. 98, 102–103 (ill.) Seldis, Henry J. Henry Moore in America. New York, 1973, pp. 30, 38, 46 (ill.), 49–51, 53. Zettl, Herbert. Sight Sound Motion: Applied Media Aesthetics. Belmont, 1973, p. 20, fig. 9-11. Selected Works from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1979, p. 211, no. 39 (ill.). Roukes, Nicholas. Masters of Wood Sculpture. New York, 1980, p. 55. Mitchinson, David. "1930–1940" In Henry Moore Early Carvings 1920–1940. Leeds, 1982, pp. 34–35 (ill.). Moore, Henry. Henry Moore: Wood Sculpture. New York, 1983, pp. 11, 18, 21, 25, 112–115 (ill.), 143, no. 38. Henry Moore: The Reclining Figure. Exh. cat., Columbus Museum of Art. Columbus, 1984, pp. 18, 37, cat. 10a (ill.). Henshaw, Julia P., ed. 100 Masterworks from the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, pp. 228–229 (ill.). Horowitz, Frederick A. More Than You See: A Guide to Art. San Diego, 1985, pp. 18–19 (ill.), 21. Mittler, Gene A. Art in Focus. Peoria, 1986, p. 380, fig. 19.18. The W. Hawkins Ferry Collection. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1987, pp. 32–33, no. 40 (ill.). Peck, William H. The Detroit Institute of Arts: A Brief History. Detroit, 1991, pp. 130, 136 (ill.). Henry Moore, 1898–1986. Exh. cat., Art Gallery of New South Wales. Sydney, 1992, pp. 16, 50 (ill.). Leslie, Richard. Surrealism: The Dream of Revolution. New York, 1997, p. 93 (ill.). Kosinski, Dorothy. Henry Moore: Sculpting the 20th Century. Exh. cat., Dallas Museum of Art. New Haven, 2001, pp. 50, 69, 139 (ill.), 146, 309, cat. 45. Beal, Graham W. J. and Debra N. Mancoff. Treasures of the DIA. Detroit, 2007, p. 401, no. 325 (ill.). Stephens, Chris, ed. Henry Moore. Exh. cat., Tate Britain. London, 2010, pp. 206–207, cat. 150 (ill.).

Henry Moore, Reclining Figure, 1939, elmwood. Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase with funds from the Dexter M. Ferry, Jr. Trustee Corporation, 65.108.