Four-Piece Composition: Reclining Figure is a significant early stone sculpture crafted by Henry Moore in 1934. Standing at just over two feet tall, the work showcases Moore’s experimentation with breaking down the human form into multiple pieces. The artist had been exploring representations of the reclining human figure since as early as 1924, and this particular piece is often regarded as a breakthrough moment in his career.
To create Reclining Figure, Moore worked with concrete that he reinforced with steel rods to ensure structural stability. The end result is an abstracted representation of a reclining female form, characterized by one arm supporting her weight and raised opposite arm, outstretched on the ground. Her hip and two legs are visible while a prominence on her chest suggests a breast. While there is no evident face in the sculpture, its flowing curves and intricate details appeal to viewers on an emotional level.
This work stands apart from traditional Western art forms due to its non-traditional depiction of the human body influenced by non-Western art. It would become especially significant for being central to Moore’s mature style – utilizing natural shapes and contours found within his materials to create abstracted figures that remain accessible to all audiences regardless of age or culture.