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One of a series of 18 lithographs drawn by the artist for the Auden Poems/Moore Lithographs 1974 book and portfolio. This work is an artist proof from an edition of 25 printed on vellum aside from the portfolio (edition of 75) and the book. Signed by the artist lower right in pencil; numbered AP 7/10 lower left in pencil.
Printed in inky black, Man and Woman features a rubenesque woman standing in profile to the right of the picture, her hands placed lightly on her stomach. She glances past the viewer to her left. To the left of the woman stands a shadowy figure, one who recurs in this series of Moore lithographs, a presence existing between menace and guardianship. The nude duo evokes the origin of mankind — an idea of the eternal.
Man and Woman displays Moore’s fascination with light and dark – what he called a “…bias towards the blackness and mysterious depths.” Moore was inspired by the prints of Rembrandt and the drawings of Seurat, and even drew on his memories of viewing the Altamira cave paintings, recalling how some of the images used the shadow of candlelight on the rough surface of the rock to model light.
The Auden/Moore limited edition book and portfolio were exhibited on publication at the British Museum, London, with an accompanying catalogue.
Man and Woman is one of a group of lithographs presented with the work of poet W.H. Auden (1907-1973). Not conceived as illustrations, Moore wanted his landscape and figure works to stand alone, complementing or contrasting with Auden’s poetry. He and Auden were both from Yorkshire, and the dark landscapes and moody figures that Moore produced for the project evoke the industrial nature and rugged moors of the area.