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.
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.
Not on display
© 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
Shown in 5 exhibitions
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
On the Origin of Art, Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania, 05 Nov 2016–17 Apr 2017
Referenced in 16 publications
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.).
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Sydney, 1999, 64 (colour 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
Henry Spencer Moore, Henry Spencer Moore, London, 1968.
Bick Waterlow, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'A wish fulfilled', pg.14, Sydney, 10 Apr 1992, 14.
Henry Moore, sculpture and drawings 1921-1969, London, 1970. cat.no. 407
The Australian, Sydney, 28 Dec 1968, (illus.).
Henry Moore: sculpture 1921-1986, London, 1955-1988, vol 2, 281 (illus.).
Henry Moore, Sydney, 1992, 113 (illus.). plate no. 90
British art since 1900, London, 1962.
Recent British sculpture, London, 1961. cat.no. 39
The archetypal world of Henry Moore, London, 1959, (illus.).
Henry Moore, volume two: sculpture and drawings since 1948, London, 1955, xiv (illus.). plate no. 11.
Unknown, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 58 (colour illus.).