Reclining Connected Figures

This modern abstract work is by renowned British artist Henry Moore, one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century. This is one of his few pieces in Australia.

Moore’s sculptures are often of abstract, organic and interconnected figures. Many feature reclining forms. This 1969 bronze, Reclining Connected Forms, is a good example. There is a sense of the smaller form being protected and supported by an overarching, larger one.

Moore said it represented the human need to protect and be protected.  In 1974 he said: “In my sculpture there are three recurring themes: mother with child; the reclining figure; large form protecting small form. In this sculpture I have united all three motifs.” The sculpture’s womb-like form evokes the idea of mother and child.

Moore’s art expresses an organic, spiritual and sensual beauty. It rejects conventional ideas of beauty drawn from the Renaissance and Classical ideals.

The contrast between this sculpture and such works as the 1892 Venus is clear. Moore’s art draws on the natural world, including the human body and forms such as stones, pebbles and plants. He was also inspired by the primitive sculptures in the British Museum, as well as the interconnected patterns of armour in the Wallace Collection in London.

Moore was consulted on the placement of this sculpture in 1969. It was finally revealed on December 16, 1976. John Perkin, the former curator of the University of Adelaide’s art collection, referred to it as the “jewel in the university’s collection”.

Another Moore sculpture, Seated Figure Against Curved Wall, is in the Art Gallery of South Australia.