A rare bronze “Maquette by Henry Moore from the collection of the legendary Hollywood actress Lauren Bacall is being offered at Bonham’s New York. The work titled “Curved Mother and Child,” was gifted to the actresse’s son Stephen Bogart, who has consigned the lot. The small bronze carries a pre-sale auction estimate of $150,000-200,000.
Lauren Bacall first became interested in Henry Moore in Los Angeles in the 1950s. While visiting the Forte de Belvedere exhibition of Moore’s work in Florence in 1972, Ms. Bacall studied many of the sculptures and continued her fervent interest in his work. In 1975, Robert Lewin of the Brook Street Gallery introduced her to the sculptor. As Ms. Bacall recalled in 1989 in an interview: “The operator said Henry Moore was on the phone. I could not believe it. I said ‘Is that really Henry Moore?’ and he said, ‘Is this really Lauren Bacall?’ I felt 12 years old, I was so excited.”
Ms. Bacall subsequently visited Moore in England, often accompanied by her family. In a letter dated 23 June 1976, preserved in the Henry Moore Archive, Ms. Bacall writes to the sculptor: “There is no way possible to articulate my feelings after my visit… It was and will be ever a high point of my life. It was the realisation of my dream – to actually meet you and then spend time with you. Some say it’s dangerous to meet one’s idols – but in your case, and this is true, you went far beyond expectation.”
The theme of mother and child is a cornerstone of Moore’s legacy. He was keenly attuned to the subject throughout his career and the creation of these works conjures images of the subject throughout the history of art in relation to other works of a Madonna and Child. “The ‘Maquette for Curved Mother and Child’ shows the artist at his best and we are thrilled to offer this bronze which underscores the great friendship Moore and Ms. Bacall shared as artist and collector,” said William O’Reilly, Director of Impressionist and Modern Art at Bonhams