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An image of Helmet head no. 2 by Henry Spencer Moore

Henry Spencer Moore

(England 30 Jul 1898 – 31 Aug 1986)

Helmet head no. 2
Media category
Materials used

34.0 x 24.7 x 24.0 cm; 4.2 x 26.0 x 31.7 cm base

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased 1955
Accession number
© The works are illustrated by kind permission of the Henry Moore Foundation and must not be reproduced or altered without prior consent from the Henry Moore Foundation
Not on display
Further information

Echoing the surrealism that was an early influence on the sculptor, this compact bronze merges mechanistic form with animistic feeling. Its owl-like outline and interrogative attitude make a direct demand on the viewer. Yet the secrecy of its internal voids and the implacability of its outward structures resist all dialogue. The enigmatic objects of Giacometti come to mind, redefined as they are by Moore's own brand of sculptural rationalism. Regardless of subject matter, and even at his most primitivistic, the English sculptor invested his work with a sense of composure and balance. 'Helmet head no. 2' rises with great solidity from a flange-like neck and throat. The shape suggests a Nazi helmet, unsurprising given Moore's deeply humanistic response to the sufferings occasioned by the Second World War. By contrast, his far more easeful bronze, 'Reclining figure: angles I' (1980) rests monumentally on its base outside the Gallery.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999.

Bibliography (16)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 58 (colour illus.).

Sir Alan Bowness (Editor), Henry Moore: sculpture 1921-1986, London, 1955-1988, vol 2, 281 (illus.).

Ernest Brown and Phillips Ltd, London, Catalogue of an exhibition of recent sculpture and early life drawings by Henry Moore, London, 1955.

René Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Sydney, 1988, 55.

Robert Haines, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Rodin and Modern British Sculpture', pg. 151-154, Sydney, Jul 1963, 152, 153 (illus.).

John Hedgecoe and Henry Spencer Moore, Henry Spencer Moore, London, 1968.

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Sydney, 1999, 64 (colour illus.).

Walter Kommer (Editor), The Australian, Surry Hills, 28 Dec 1968, (illus.).

the Masters, The Adelaide Festival of Arts 1960: Souvenir catalogue of special exhibitions at the National Gallery of South Australia, Sculpture, Adelaide, 1960. cat. no.4

Robert Melville, Henry Moore, sculpture and drawings 1921-1969, London, 1970. 407

Erich Neumann, The archetypal world of Henry Moore, London, 1959, (illus.).

Sir Herbert Read, Henry Moore, volume two: sculpture and drawings since 1948, London, 1955, xiv (illus.). plate no. 11.

Sir John Rothenstein, British art since 1900, London, 1962.

The British Council, Recent British sculpture, London, 1961. 39

Bick Waterlow, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'A wish fulfilled', pg.14, Sydney, 10 Apr 1992, 14.

Nick Waterlow, Henry Moore, Sydney, 1992, 113 (illus.). plate no. 90

Exhibition history (4)

Recent sculpture and early life drawings by Henry Moore, The Leicester Galleries, London, Nov 1955–24 Nov 1955

Purchases and Acquisitions for 1956, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Mar 1957–31 Mar 1957

Sculpture by the Masters: Adelaide Festival of Arts 1960, National Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 12 Mar 1960–26 Mar 1960

Henry Moore 1898-1986, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 Apr 1992–09 Aug 1992