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Fake or Fortune: A Henry Moore in the Gurlitt Hoard

Release date: Sunday, 26 August 2018

    In the latest episode of the BBC's Fake or Fortune the team investigated a small watercolour sketch, from Germany, that was thought to be a Henry Moore work.

    During the programme Fiona Bruce, Philip Mould and the research team investigated two questions. Firstly, was the piece actually by Henry Moore and secondly, how did it come to be part of the Gurlitt Hoard, a Nazi collection of over 1500 artworks now housed in the Museum of Fine Art in Bern, Switzerland. The team travelled to Germany to trace the story of Hildebrand Gurlitt - the former museum curator who amassed the hoard - and spoke to Moore's daughter and other experts to gather evidence and opinions.

    We're pleased to say that the drawing was formally considered by the Henry Moore Foundation’s Review Panel on 24 April 2018. The panel members agreed that the work is an unrecorded drawing by Henry Moore and that the documentation uncovered by the BBC provides compelling evidence of the drawing’s provenance, from Henry Moore’s studio to the collection of Cornelius Gurlitt. 

    The drawing has been recorded in the catalogue raisonné as follows:

    Ideas for Sculpture: Mother and Child and Reclining Figures
    c.1929
    HMF 745a
    ink, wash, watercolour, pencil, collaged figures on off-white medium weight wove
    paper: 293 × 312 mm
    unsigned, undated
    verso inscription: pencil u.c. Henry Moore /Drawings for reclining Figure /(Carving)/3 gns.

    Ideas for Sculpture: Mother and Child and Reclining Figures is a valuable addition to the catalogue raisonné of Moore’s work. Click here to find out more about the more remarkable story of its disappearance and subsequent rediscovery.