Important and rare Henry Moore portrait showing early love is secured by his Foundation for future exhibitions

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This rare drawing of his beloved fellow student Edna Ginesi - later to marry Moore's best friend Raymond Coxon - joins the collections at his former home in Hertfordshire, England.

'This rare drawing has such personal significance' Anita Feldman, Henry Moore Foundation

Acquired just before the weekend of the artist's former birthday, 30 July, the drawing dates from 1921, when Moore was 23, and he and Ginesi were both studying at Leeds School of Art.

Moore fell in love with Ginesi during the three years that followed, but she had been engaged to his best friend Raymond Coxon throughout, and was never to return his affections. However, their strong triangular friendship survived; with Moore the best man at their wedding. The couple remained loyal friends to the artist and to Irina Radetsky, who Moore married in 1929. The Coxons were among the last to visit Moore at his home in Perry Green, Hertfordshire in 1986.

In a poignant detail, the drawing has been placed in a decorative mount painted by Irina Moore herself. This was her practice in the early stages of Moore’s career.

Portrait of Mrs Raymond Coxon (Edna Ginesi) is catalogued as HMF 0, and was bought at Sotheby’s from the Evill/Frost sale on 16 June for £7,000.

Anita Feldman, Head of Collections and Exhibitions, said: ‘Moore rarely made portraits and this is a particularly early example. We wanted to acquire this for our collection not only because it is a beautiful drawing, but also because it has such a personal significance to Moore’s early years as an artist.’

The portrait will rejoin with the official collection of his work, left by him in the care of The Henry Moore Foundation. Based at Perry Green, the collection is shown there and worldwide with a major exhibition next year at the Kremlin Museums in Moscow - the first ever modern artist to be shown in that venue.

The drawing is in conservation at the Foundation’s headquarters at Perry Green, Hertfordshire. The artist’s home and studios, extensive and beautiful sculpture grounds and exhibition Henry Moore: Plasters are open to the public at the Foundation until 31 October 2011. http://www.henry-moore.org/pg.

The Foundation Henry Moore established in 1977 is now one of the UK’s leading art charities. http://www.henry-moore.org.

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Annabel Friedlein
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