Monday, August 18, 2014
Large Five Piece Reclining Figure
After a coal miner's son upbringing, a stint as a soldier in World War One followed by an artist's life in bohemian London in the 1920s and 1930s, the British sculptor Henry Moore started creating bronze cast sculptures in 1950 and became very wealthy. Over the next four decades before his death in 1986, he continued to refine his neoprimitive, marvelously expressive designs. Large Four Piece Reclining Figure above dates from 1973, one of eight castings of the sculpture, and it has been reclining at the corner of Van Ness and Grove in front of Davies Symphony Hall since the building's opening in 1980.
From all accounts, Moore didn't much care much about money and luxuries, continuing to live in the same country house he moved to with his wife Irina in 1940 during the Blitz. He funneled his wealth into the Henry Moore Foundation, which runs an indoor/outdoor museum in the village of Perry Green where he lived, and gives grants to contemporary [one would hope starving] artists.
The outdoor sculpture garden even has an identical Large Four Piece Reclining Figure, but it's doubtful they allow street people (possibly young starving artists) to sleep on their sculpture bases like San Francisco does on a Saturday afternoon.
In truth, the tired, human reclining figure sheltering in public against the bronze reclining figures was a perfect interactive piece of art all of its own. If Marina Abramović had paid a homeless person to do the same for $2 an hour, the work would probably be acclaimed internationally.