© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015 /


Henry Moore (1898 – 1986)


50.5 X 38 CM
Accession number


In complete contrast to the blackness of the Auden prints (P5142-P5160), came the colourful images from the La Poésie album. The idea behind this portfolio was to illustrate a group of French poets chosen by the French President, Georges Pompidou. Moore was again faced with the problem of balancing his illustrations to literary quotations. Luckily for the artist the texts were later in arriving so he went ahead producing the images he wanted with no references to or worries about the accompanying words. He selected familiar themes: ideas for sculpture, stone forms, standing and reclining figures, giving them a spacious almost dreamlike quality. Working with Stanley Jones of the Curwen Studios, Moore developed a new technical process for lithography. Known as diazo lithographs, they were made by drawing onto a thin transparent film with black lithographic ink or some other semi-opaque liquid and then transferring the image to the plate by ultra-violet light; the strength of the image depended on the length of exposure, thereby allowing the image to be made up of a series of tonal layers from one original. For a print such Ideas from a Sketchbook (p5096) Moore drew two films, one for the background and another for the figures. Both films were exposed twice to make four plates. After proofing each plate in monochrome Moore decided on a colour range and the printer provided colour proofs in order to obtain a bon à tirer (the final approved work before the edition is printed). In this case the background was editioned in ochre and light ochre and the figure in grey and brown – a four colour lithograph from four plates. The portfolio was printed in an edition of 40 and published by Art et Poésie, Paris.