Artwork of the month April

Henry Moore, Figure in a Shelter, 1983

Henry Moore

*1898 in Castleford, England, †1986 in Much Hadham, England

Figure in a Shelter, 1983


183x213.5x244cm, base 16cm x ø228cm
Purchased with funds from Lampadia Stiftung, Vaduz

A humanoid gure rises above a low base, evoking associations with female statuettes from archaic times. Two fragmented, offset shell shapes enclose the gure from behind, their contour lines constituting a kind of frame. They form a protective space, or shelter, opening up towards the female torso, rounded on the outside and organically curved within.

The idea of mutual dependence of inner and outer form, of body and sheath, is a key aspect in the work of Henry Moore. It not only induced the artist to comprehend the lifelong theme of mother and child as a relationship between the protective womb and that which grows within this sanctuary; it was also the foundation for his interest in the helmet motif, which Moore rst dealt with in 1939/40 and later in a series of Helmet Heads. In this case, an outer form accommodates an inner form, that is, however, an upright gure rather than a head. In Figure in a Shelter, a sculpture which derives from the Helmet Heads, the protective armour is widened and rent; in Bronze Form of 1985, nally, the gure becomes a stand-alone object.

With Moore's experience from his army service in 1917 already suggested by the helmet theme, the artist gained particular fame with a series of sculptures in which he expressed the monstrosity of World War II. Having initially refused an of cial post as war artist, in his Shelter Drawings Moore captured his impressions of the London Underground stations where the population had taken shelter from night-time bombing in 1940/41. The pictures are testimonies of an existential threat in the face of which the underground railway tunnels served as a place of refuge, with blankets and clothes sheathing the body. And to the extent that Figure in a Shelter deals with similar themes, it may also be seen as a memorial against war.

<b>Henry Moore, Figure in a Shelter, 1983</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.