Moore’s bronze “Horse” could top $1 million at auction

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Henry Moore's Horse is being sold at Christie's in Hong Kong on May 25.
Henry Moore’s Horse is being sold at Christie’s in Hong Kong on May 25. © Christies

Two equine flavoured pieces are among a sale of 20th and 21st Century art going under the hammer in Hong Kong next week.

One, a bronze by Henry Moore (1898-1986) titled simply Horse, is expected to fetch up to $NZ1 million ($HKD5.2m) at the Christie’s sale on May 25.

The other, a large oil on canvas work completed in 2013 by André Brasilier (1929) titled Les chevaux marins, is estimated to reach up to $HKD1m ($NZ178,000).

Moore’s 1984 work strips the horse down to its essential shape and structure. He is not preoccupied with anatomy, paying any attention to its musculature or the details of its movement. He employs a nearly identical shape for the horse’s rump as that which he used for the lower legs and feet of the large Mother and Child: Block Seat, conceived that same year, demonstrating the manner in which all living things were reduced by the artist to a series of elemental, simple forms.

It is 68cm long and was cast in an edition of nine.

The horse had appeared in Moore’s body of work as early as 1923, but the present sculpture is one of the very few representations of the subject which the artist created. It is the only sculpture of the motif which he enlarged from the maquette to working-model size. The cast numbered 0/9 of the present edition is in the collection of The Henry Moore Foundation, Much Hadham, Hertfordshire.

Henry Moore's Horse is being sold at Christie's in Hong Kong on May 25. © Christies
Henry Moore’s Horse has a pre-auction estimate of between $HKD3.2m and $HKD5.2m. © Christies

Moore said in 1981: “Although my work is fundamentally based on the human figure – and it’s the human figure that I have studied, drawn from, modelled as a student, and then taught for many years at college – because the human being is an animal and alive, naturally one is also interested in animal forms which are again organic, alive and can move. I see a lot of connections between animals and human beings and I can get the same kind of feelings from an animal as from the human being. There can be a virility, a dignity or there can be a tenderness, a vulnerability.”

Its pre-auction estimate is between $HKD3.2m and $HKD5.2m.

André Brasilier's Les chevaux marins
André Brasilier’s Les chevaux marins. © Christies

André Brasilier‘s Les chevaux marins is being sold from a private European collection. Its title translates as “Sea horses”.

Brasilier’s work often features horses, and an exhibition in 2017 said that his paintings “explore the world as if viewed on a horse ride through the Saumur countryside, over the course of a long summer afternoon”.

It has a pre-auction estimate of between $HKD700,000 and $HKD1m. It is to be included in a forthcoming catalogue of the artist’s work.

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