Henry Moore classic sold for pounds 1.36m helps pay daughter's legal bills

A reclining figure by Henry Moore fetched pounds 1.36m in New York on Tuesday evening at the start of a sale of 44 works of art left by the sculpture to his daughter, Mary Danowski.

The sale by Sotheby's, which continued yesterday, had been expected to net Mrs Danowski pounds 6m, but valuable works by Cezanne and Degas failed to reach their reserve prices.

A long-running legal battle with the Henry Moore Foundation, which owns most of her father's prodigious output, has left Mrs Danowski with a stack of lawyers' bills. Last year she lost a claim to 215 bronze sculptures worth pounds 100m in the foundation's collection.

Mary Spencer Moore Danowski, 50, an only child and married to an American art dealer, was given many works by her father. The pieces auctioned in New York were from her personal collection and family trusts.

The classic piece Reclining Figure - Bone Skirt, acquired by a private collector for pounds 1.36m, is a monumental carving in travertine marble dating from 1978. At the time Moore was spending the summers at a villa he had built near the Carrara quarries in Italy.

Moore's hero, Michelangelo, had worked with Carrara marble centuries before. The 69in- long figure is one of an acclaimed series exemplifying an observation Moore made in 1931: "The human figure is what interests me deeply, but I have found principles of form and rhythm from the study of natural objects such as pebbles, rocks, bones, trees, plants ... bones have marvellous structural strength and hard tenseness of form, subtle transition of one shape into the next..."

Two other works from the artists collection sold on Tuesday were Jean- Francois Millet's La Baratteuse in black chalk on paper, bought by a dealer for pounds 189,100, and George Seurat's Les Deaux Charrettes, bought by a private collector for pounds 192,510.

Moore belonged to a group of major artists who were also distinguished collectors in their own right. Two works, however, fell short of Mrs Danowski's aspirations. The Trois Baigneuses from Paul Cezanne's bathers series carried a tag of pounds 1m to pounds 1.3m, but was not sold. Nor was a pastel by Edgar Degas of a woman combing her hair which had been estimated at between pounds 310,000 and pounds 434,000.

Mrs Danowski helped to set up the foundation in 1977 to ease Moore's pounds 1m-a year tax bills. When he died, aged 88, in 1986, the foundation owned 669 of his sculptures and thousands of drawings. But Mrs Danowski, in her unsuccessful law suit, claimed that bronzes made between 1977 and her father's death were part of the family estate.

Literature accompanying the sale dwelt on a happier time with the young Mary learning by the artist's side at their Hoglands home in Hertfordshire. "He was the most tremendous teacher," she recalled. "He would use a Vuillard or a piece of African sculpture to make a visual point ... Every second of his life he was refining three- dimensional form."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Sport
sport
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all