Lot 52

HENRY MOORE, O.M., C.H. (1898-1986)
Mother and Child
signed and dated ‘Moore/42’ (lower left)
pencil, wax crayon and watercolour
7 x 5 1/4 in. (18.4 x 14 cm.) 


A gift from the artist to Sandro Paternostro and by descent.

A. Garould (ed.), Henry Moore, Complete Drawings: 1940-49, Vol. 3, London, 2001, p. 161, no. AG 42.164, HMF 2009, illustrated.

Artist’s Resale Right may apply on this lot.

‘The ‘’Mother and Child’’ idea is one of my two or three obsessions, one of my inexhaustible subjects. This may have something to do with the fact that the ‘’Madonna and Child’’ was so important in the art of the past and that one loves the old masters and has learned so much from them. But the subject itself is eternal and unending, with so many sculptural possibilities in it, a small form in relation to a big form, the big form protecting the small one, and so on. It is such a rich subject, both humanly and compositionally, that I will always go on using it.’

Henry Moore

Executed in 1942, during the Second World War, Mother and Child belongs to a period when drawing took on an new importance in Moore’s output, as the materials for sculpture became scarce and three-dimensional projects difficult to realise. Thus, drawing became Moore’s primary creative outlet during the conflict, a change in status that caused his works on paper to develop a new complexity and substance. Here, the layered combination of different media, the sweeping lines of the multiple silhouettes and the thin wash, create a particular depth that reveals the multifaceted and fluid nature of Moore’s train of thought, as he explores one of his most preferred themes.

Mother and Child has been in the private collection of the Paternostro family since 1973. Sandro Paternostro was an Italian journalist, writer and TV presenter who started his career in his hometown Palermo after the War and then carried on covering international news, living in a number of countries. In the 70s he was based in London, working as a foreign correspondent for the Italian national tv broadcaster RAI. Paternostro had a particular passion for painting and, despite the lack of any formal training, had been pursuing it as a hobby over the years. In 1973 he held a solo show at the Sixty One Gallery in London. The subjects of the paintings varied between jazz musicians at play, nudes and depictions of some of the numerous places visited by the journalist. The show was well received and all works were sold. Amongst the visitors was Henry Moore, a meeting that was immediately captured by the press (see fig. 1). It was around this time that Moore gifted Mother and Child to Paternostro. A cherished piece, the work has been in the family ever since and this is the first time it is shown to the public.

Estimate: £15,000-£25,000