In 1963, Hammacher and Oxenaar consult with London gallery owner Harry Fisher about the purchase of Three upright motives by Henry Moore. The components of this sculpture group, which was cast in a limited edition, had almost always been sold separately in the past. Only in America can a complete group be found. Now, the opportunity arises to acquire the only other group still available. It concerns the sculptures no. 1 (‘Glenkiln Cross’), no. 2 and no. 7, of the ‘upright motives’, which are frequently photographed in this arrangement.
In the autumn, Oxenaar visits Moore’s studio in London. ‘I saw the three sculptures at Moore’s studio, the Glenkiln Cross on its own in the garden, the others on the platform in the studio and I was again very impressed! Moore himself is still very enthusiastic about the plan and finds it self-evident that it belongs there. He is prepared to come over to supervise the placement.’ Oxenaar receives the green light to purchase the group on 15 January 1964.
Three upright motives is placed outside the museum grounds, at the foot of the Franse Berg in the Hoge Veluwe Park. There, the sculpture group looks out across the foundations of Helene’s desired ‘Grand Museum’ from a sand hill. ‘For those who approach from the road, the sculpture group will announce the Museum from miles away like a sign, while on the other hand this “monument” is intended as a tribute to Mrs Kröller, who sought to fully realize her ideal in precisely this spot.’
To give the artist an impression of the location of the sculptures, Oxenaar has three tree trunks of comparable height placed on the sand hill and sends the photographs to Moore. He is enthusiastic about Oxenaar’s choice. ‘I am very happy with the prospect of them eventually being put on the sandy hill overlooking the plains, and I agree with you that it is a very good site for the group.’ The sand hill is raised slightly at Moore’s request.
Installation Three upright motives, 1965
The installation and unveiling
Moore also designs a pedestal for the three sculptures. Under the technical direction of Marinus van den Brink, work on the complicated formwork takes place in the winter of 1964. ‘Based on a small plaster scale model and some working drawings, an impressive wooden structure was created, almost the size of a house.’ In the first months of 1965, the concrete for the pedestal is poured on site. Moore is present at various stages of construction and also travels to Otterlo for the unveiling of the sculpture group on 10 April. In the annual report, Oxenaar writes that Otterlo is now the only place in Europe where ‘the three sculptures, which for Moore form an inseparable whole, can actually be seen together’.