Henry Moore


Henry Moore (b. 1898, Castleford, Yorkshire; d. 1986, Hertfordshire, England) was an English sculptor and draughtsman best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures. Moore’s smooth, organic sculptures draw extensively on the human figure, notably in the recurring motifs of mother-and-child, reclining women and family groups. Moore was able to distance himself from classical sculpture through the influence of primitive art, and the work of Brancusi, Epstein, and other modernists. Punctured, pinched and hollow shapes often feature in Moore’s work and allude to the universal forms which he believed all viewers respond to subconsciously. In the inter-war years, Moore lived in Hampstead, amongst a community of avant-garde artists which also included Barbara Hepworth, Naum Gabo, Ben Nicholson, among others. As an official war artist, Moore focused on charcoal drawings of people huddled inside bomb shelters during the London Blitz. After the war, Moore amassed considerable wealth through commissions for monumental sculptures, which he used to found the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds to support and exhibit sculpture internationally.


After initially working as a teacher and completing his military service in World War I, Moore attended Leeds School of Art in 1920. In 1921 he studied sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London, where he was subsequently appointed Instructor of Sculpture in 1924. Moore’s first solo show of sculpture was held at the Warren Gallery, London, in 1928. From 1932 to 1939 he taught at the Chelsea School of Art. Moore participated in the International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries, London (1936). His first retrospective took place at Temple Newsam, Leeds (1941). Moore was given his first major retrospective abroad by the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1946). He won the International Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale of 1948. In 1963 the artist was awarded the British Order of Merit. Other important exhibitions and retrospectives include the Tate Gallery, London (1951); Whitechapel Gallery, London (1957); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (1961); Tate Gallery, London (1968); Forte di Belvedere, Florence (1972); Tate Gallery and the Serpentine Gallery, London (1978); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1983); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (1987); Royal Academy of Arts (1988); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (2001); CaixaForum, Barcelona, (2008); and Tate Britain (2010).

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