Henry Moore
Overview
 
Henry Spencer Moore OM
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

 CH FBA (30 July 1898 – 31 August 1986) was an English sculptor
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 and artist. He was best known for his semi-abstract
Abstract art
Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an...

 monumental bronze sculptures which are located around the world as public works of art
Public art
The term public art properly refers to works of art in any media that have been planned and executed with the specific intention of being sited or staged in the physical public domain, usually outside and accessible to all...

.

His forms are usually abstractions of the human figure, typically depicting mother-and-child or reclining figures. Moore's works are usually suggestive of the female body, apart from a phase in the 1950s when he sculpted family groups.
Encyclopedia
Henry Spencer Moore OM
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

 CH FBA (30 July 1898 – 31 August 1986) was an English sculptor
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 and artist. He was best known for his semi-abstract
Abstract art
Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an...

 monumental bronze sculptures which are located around the world as public works of art
Public art
The term public art properly refers to works of art in any media that have been planned and executed with the specific intention of being sited or staged in the physical public domain, usually outside and accessible to all...

.

His forms are usually abstractions of the human figure, typically depicting mother-and-child or reclining figures. Moore's works are usually suggestive of the female body, apart from a phase in the 1950s when he sculpted family groups. His forms are generally pierced or contain hollow spaces. Many interpreters liken the undulating form of his reclining figures to the landscape and hills of his birthplace, Yorkshire
Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

.

Moore was born in Castleford
Castleford
Castleford is the largest of the "five towns" district in the metropolitan borough of the City of Wakefield, in West Yorkshire, England. It is near Pontefract, and has a population of 37,525 according to the 2001 Census, but has seen a rise in recent years and is now around 45-50,000. To the north...

, the son of a coal miner. He became well-known through his carved marble and larger-scale abstract cast bronze sculptures, and was instrumental in introducing a particular form of modernism
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 to the United Kingdom. His ability in later life to fulfill large-scale commissions made him exceptionally wealthy. Yet he lived frugally and most of the money he earned went towards endowing the Henry Moore Foundation
Henry Moore Foundation
The Henry Moore Foundation is a registered charity in England, established for education and promotion of the fine arts — in particular, to advance understanding of the works of Henry Moore. The charity was set up with a gift from the artist in 1977...

, which continues to support education and promotion of the arts.

Early life

Moore was born in Castleford
Castleford
Castleford is the largest of the "five towns" district in the metropolitan borough of the City of Wakefield, in West Yorkshire, England. It is near Pontefract, and has a population of 37,525 according to the 2001 Census, but has seen a rise in recent years and is now around 45-50,000. To the north...

, West Yorkshire
West Yorkshire
West Yorkshire is a metropolitan county within the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England with a population of 2.2 million. West Yorkshire came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972....

, England, to Mary Baker and Raymond Spencer Moore. His father was of Irish origin and became pit deputy and then under-manager of the Wheldale colliery
Coal mining
The goal of coal mining is to obtain coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, and since the 1880s has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United States,...

 in Castleford. He was an autodidact with an interest in music and literature. Determined that his sons would not work in the mines, he saw formal education as the route to their advancement. Henry was the seventh of eight children in a family that often struggled with poverty. He attended infant and elementary schools in Castleford, where he began modelling in clay
Clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

 and carving in wood
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

. He professed to have decided to become a sculptor when he was eleven after hearing of Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

's achievements at a Sunday School reading.

On his second attempt he was accepted at Castleford Secondary School
Castleford High School Technology and Sports College
Castleford Academy is a high school in Castleford, West Yorkshire, England for children aged 11–16....

, where his headmaster soon noticed his talent and interest in medieval sculpture
Gothic art
Gothic art was a Medieval art movement that developed in France out of Romanesque art in the mid-12th century, led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture. It spread to all of Western Europe, but took over art more completely north of the Alps, never quite effacing more classical...

 , and which several of his siblings had attended. His art teacher broadened his knowledge of art, and, with her encouragement, he determined to make art his career; first by sitting for examinations for a scholarship to the local art college.

Despite his early promise, Moore's parents had been against him training as a sculptor, a vocation they considered manual labour with few career prospects. After a brief introduction as a student teacher, Moore became a teacher at the school he had attended. Upon turning eighteen, Moore volunteered for army service. He was the youngest man in the Prince of Wales's Own Civil Service Rifles
Prince of Wales's Own Civil Service Rifles
The Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles were a regiment in the Volunteer Force and Territorial Force of the British Army from 1798 to 1921; they saw active service in the Boer War and World War I...

 regiment, and was injured in 1917 in a gas attack
Chemical warfare
Chemical warfare involves using the toxic properties of chemical substances as weapons. This type of warfare is distinct from Nuclear warfare and Biological warfare, which together make up NBC, the military acronym for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical...

 during the Battle of Cambrai. After recovering in hospital, he saw out the remainder of the war as a physical training
Physical fitness
Physical fitness comprises two related concepts: general fitness , and specific fitness...

 instructor, only returning to France as the Armistice was signed. In stark contrast to many of his contemporaries, Moore's wartime experience was largely untroubled. He recalled later, "for me the war passed in a romantic haze of trying to be a hero."

Beginnings as a sculptor

After the war Moore received an ex-serviceman's grant to continue his education and in 1919 he became a student at the Leeds School of Art (now Leeds College of Art), which set up a sculpture studio especially for him. At the college, he met Barbara Hepworth
Barbara Hepworth
Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE was an English sculptor. Her work exemplifies Modernism, and with such contemporaries as Ivon Hitchens, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo she helped to develop modern art in Britain.-Life and work:Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth was born on 10 January 1903 in Wakefield,...

, a fellow student who would also become a well-known British sculptor, and began a friendship and gentle professional rivalry that lasted for many years. In Leeds, Moore also had access to the modernist works in the collection of Sir Michael Sadler
Michael Ernest Sadler
Sir Michael Ernest Sadler KCSI was a British historian, educationalist and university administrator. He worked at the universities of Manchester and Leeds. He was a champion of the public school system.-Early life and education:...

, the University Vice-Chancellor, which had a pronounced effect on his development. In 1921, Moore won a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art
Royal College of Art
The Royal College of Art is an art school located in London, United Kingdom. It is the world’s only wholly postgraduate university of art and design, offering the degrees of Master of Arts , Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy...

 in London, along with Hepworth and other Yorkshire contemporaries. While in London, Moore extended his knowledge of primitive art
Primitivism
Primitivism is a Western art movement that borrows visual forms from non-Western or prehistoric peoples, such as Paul Gauguin's inclusion of Tahitian motifs in paintings and ceramics...

 and sculpture, studying the ethnographic collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum , set in the Brompton district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects...

 and the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

.

The student sculptures of both Moore and Hepworth followed the standard romantic Victorian
Victorian decorative arts
Victorian decorative arts refers to the style of decorative arts during the Victorian era. The Victorian era is known for its eclectic revival and interpretation of historic styles and the introduction of cross-cultural influences from the middle east and Asia in furniture, fittings, and Interior...

 style, and included natural forms, landscapes and figurative modelling of animals. Moore later became uncomfortable with classically derived ideals; his later familiarity with primitivism and the influence of sculptors such as Constantin Brâncuşi
Constantin Brancusi
Constantin Brâncuşi was a Romanian-born sculptor who made his career in France. As a child he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. Formal studies took him first to Bucharest, then to Munich, then to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris...

, Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
Sir Jacob Epstein KBE was an American-born British sculptor who helped pioneer modern sculpture. He was born in the United States, and moved to Europe in 1902, becoming a British citizen in 1911. He often produced controversial works which challenged taboos on what was appropriate subject matter...

, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska was a French sculptor who developed a rough hewn, primitive style of direct carving....

 and Frank Dobson
Frank Dobson (sculptor)
Frank Dobson R.A. was a British artist and sculptor.Dobson attended the Hastings School of Art and was then an apprentice in the studio of Sir William Reynolds-Stephens. From 1910 to 1912 he attended the City and Guilds of London Art School in Kennington, South London...

 led him to the method of direct carving
Glossary of sculpting
This page describe terms and jargon related to sculpture and sculpting.- armature :- additive :- assemblage :- carving :- casting :- Ciment Fondu :- cold cast bronze :- direct carving :- Hydrocal :- kinetic sculpture :- M :- maquette :- modeling :...

, in which imperfections in the material and marks left by tools became part of the finished sculpture. Having adopted this technique, Moore was in conflict with academic tutors who did not appreciate such a modern approach. During one exercise set by Derwent Wood
Francis Derwent Wood
Francis Derwent Wood RA was a sculptor, born in Keswick, Cumberland, in England's Lake District.-Early life:Wood studied in Germany and returned to London in 1887 to work under Edouard Lanteri and Sir Thomas Brock; he taught at the Glasgow School of Art from 1897 through 1905 and was professor of...

 (the professor of sculpture at the Royal College), Moore was asked to reproduce a marble relief
Relief
Relief is a sculptural technique. The term relief is from the Latin verb levo, to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is thus to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background plane...

 of Domenico Rosselli
Domenico Rosselli
Domenico Rosselli was an Italian sculptor.Details of Rosselli's life are limited, but he seems to have trained in Florence. He is best known for his work on many of the friezes, sculpted doorways and decorative fireplaces in the Ducal Palace in Urbino, most particularly the in the...

's The Virgin and Child by first modelling the relief in plaster
Plaster
Plaster is a building material used for coating walls and ceilings. Plaster starts as a dry powder similar to mortar or cement and like those materials it is mixed with water to form a paste which liberates heat and then hardens. Unlike mortar and cement, plaster remains quite soft after setting,...

, then reproducing it in marble using the mechanical technique of "pointing". Instead, he carved the relief directly, even marking the surface to simulate the prick marks that would have been left by the pointing machine.

In 1924, Moore won a six-month travelling scholarship which he spent in Northern Italy
Northern Italy
Northern Italy is a wide cultural, historical and geographical definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the northern part of the Italian state, also referred as Settentrione or Alta Italia...

 studying the great works of Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

, Giotto di Bondone
Giotto di Bondone
Giotto di Bondone , better known simply as Giotto, was an Italian painter and architect from Florence in the late Middle Ages...

, Giovanni Pisano
Giovanni Pisano
Giovanni Pisano was an Italian sculptor, painter and architect. Son of the famous sculptor Nicola Pisano, he received his training in the workshop of his father....

 and several other Old Masters. During this period he also visited Paris, took advantage of the timed-sketching classes at the Académie Colarossi
Académie Colarossi
The Académie Colarossi is an art school founded by the Italian sculptor Filippo Colarossi. First located on the Île de la Cité, it moved in the 1870s to 10 rue de la Grande-Chaumière in the VIe arrondissement of Paris, France....

, and viewed, in the Trocadero
Trocadero
The stylish connotations of the name "Trocadero" derive from the Battle of Trocadero in southern Spain, a citadel held by liberal Spanish forces that was taken by the French troops sent by Charles X, in 1823...

, a plaster cast of a Toltec
Toltec
The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula, Hidalgo in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology...

-Maya
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

 sculptural form, the Chac Mool
Chac Mool
Chac-Mool is the name given to a type of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican stone statue.The Chac-Mool depicts a human figure in a position of reclining with the head up and turned to one side, holding a tray over the stomach...

, previously seen in book illustrations. The reclining figure was to have a profound effect upon Moore's work, becoming the primary motif of his sculpture.

Hampstead

On returning to London, Moore undertook a seven-year teaching post at the Royal College of Art. He was required to work two days a week, which allowed him time to spend on his own work. His first public commission, West Wind (1928–29), was one of the four 'wind' reliefs high on the walls of London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

's headquarters at 55 Broadway. The other 'winds' were carved by contemporary sculptors including Eric Gill
Eric Gill
Arthur Eric Rowton Gill was a British sculptor, typeface designer, stonecutter and printmaker, who was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement...

 with the ground-level pieces provided by Epstein
Epstein
The surname Epstein is one of the oldest Jewish family names in the Slavic countries. Some people with this name include:-Religion:* Abraham Epstein , Russo-Austrian rabbinical scholar* Aryeh Löb Epstein ben Mordecai, Polish rabbi...

. In July 1929, Moore married Irina Radetsky, a painting student at the Royal College. Irina was born in Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 in 1907 to Russian–Polish parents. Her father did not return from the Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

 and her mother was evacuated to Paris where she married a British army officer. Irina was smuggled to Paris a year later and went to school there until she was 16, after which she was sent to live with her stepfather's relatives in Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan home county in South East England. The county town is Aylesbury, the largest town in the ceremonial county is Milton Keynes and largest town in the non-metropolitan county is High Wycombe....

.

Irina found security in her marriage to Moore and was soon posing for him. Shortly after they married, the couple moved to a studio in Hampstead
Hampstead
Hampstead is an area of London, England, north-west of Charing Cross. Part of the London Borough of Camden in Inner London, it is known for its intellectual, liberal, artistic, musical and literary associations and for Hampstead Heath, a large, hilly expanse of parkland...

 on Parkhill Road NW3, joining a small colony of avant-garde
Avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 artists who were taking root there. Shortly afterward, Hepworth and her second husband Ben Nicholson
Ben Nicholson
Benjamin Lauder "Ben" Nicholson, OM was a British painter of abstract compositions , landscape and still-life.-Background and Training:...

 moved into a studio around the corner from Moore, while Naum Gabo
Naum Gabo
Naum Gabo KBE, born Naum Neemia Pevsner was a prominent Russian sculptor in the Constructivism movement and a pioneer of Kinetic Art.-Early life:...

, Roland Penrose
Roland Penrose
Sir Roland Algernon Penrose CBE was an English artist, historian and poet. He was a major promoter and collector of modern art and an associate of the surrealists in the United Kingdom.- Biography :...

 and the art critic Herbert Read
Herbert Read
Sir Herbert Edward Read, DSO, MC was an English anarchist, poet, and critic of literature and art. He was one of the earliest English writers to take notice of existentialism, and was strongly influenced by proto-existentialist thinker Max Stirner....

 also lived in the area. This led to a rapid cross-fertilization of ideas that Read would publicize, helping to raise Moore's public profile. The area was also a stopping-off point for many refugee architects and designers from continental Europe en route to America—some of whom would later commission works from Moore.

In 1932, after six year's teaching at the Royal College, Moore took up a post as the Head of the Department of Sculpture at the Chelsea School of Art. Artistically, Moore, Hepworth and other members of The Seven and Five Society
Seven and Five Society
The Seven and Five Society was an art group of seven painters and five sculptors created in 1919 and based in London.The group was originally intended to encompass traditional, conservative artistic sensibilities...

 would develop steadily more abstract work, partly influenced by their frequent trips to Paris and their contact with leading progressive artists, notably Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

, George Braque, Jean Arp
Jean Arp
Jean Arp / Hans Arp was a German-French, or Alsatian, sculptor, painter, poet and abstract artist in other media such as torn and pasted paper....

 and Alberto Giacometti
Alberto Giacometti
Alberto Giacometti was a Swiss sculptor, painter, draughtsman, and printmaker.Alberto Giacometti was born in the canton Graubünden's southerly alpine valley Val Bregaglia and came from an artistic background; his father, Giovanni, was a well-known post-Impressionist painter...

. Moore flirted with Surrealism
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

, joining Paul Nash
Paul Nash (artist)
Paul Nash was a British landscape painter, surrealist and war artist, as well as a book-illustrator, writer and designer of applied art. He was the older brother of the artist John Nash.-Early life:...

's modern art
Modern art
Modern art includes artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of...

 movement "Unit One", in 1933. Moore and Nash were on the organizing committee of the International Surrealist Exhibition, which took place in London in 1936. In 1937, Roland Penrose
Roland Penrose
Sir Roland Algernon Penrose CBE was an English artist, historian and poet. He was a major promoter and collector of modern art and an associate of the surrealists in the United Kingdom.- Biography :...

 purchased an abstract 'Mother and Child' in stone from Moore that he displayed in the front garden of his house in Hampstead. The work proved controversial with other residents and the local press ran a campaign against the piece over the next two years. At this time Moore gradually transitioned from direct carving to casting in bronze, modelling preliminary maquette
Maquette
A maquette is a small scale model or rough draft of an unfinished architectural work or a sculpture...

s in clay or plaster rather than making preparatory drawings.

This inventive and productive period was brought to an end by the outbreak of the Second World War. The Chelsea School of Art evacuated to Northampton and Moore resigned his teaching post. During the war, Moore was commissioned as a war artist, notably producing powerful drawings of Londoners sleeping in the London Underground while sheltering from the Blitz. These drawings helped to boost Moore's international reputation, particularly in America. After their Hampstead home was hit by bomb shrapnel in September 1940, he and Irina moved out of London to live in a farmhouse called Hoglands in the hamlet of Perry Green
Perry Green, Hertfordshire
Perry Green is a scattered hamlet in Hertfordshire, England, near Much Hadham.The sculptor Henry Moore settled there in 1941. His house Hoglands now forms part of a sculpture garden featuring his work, run by the Henry Moore Foundation....

 near Much Hadham
Much Hadham
Much Hadham is a village and civil parish in the district of East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, England, formerly known as Great Hadham. It is situated on the B1004 road, midway between Ware and Bishop's Stortford...

, Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

. This was to become Moore's home and workshop for the rest of his life. Despite acquiring significant wealth later in life, Moore never felt the need to move to larger premises and, apart from the addition of a number of outbuildings and studios, the house changed little over the years.

Later years

After the war and following several earlier miscarriages, Irina gave birth to their daughter, Mary Moore, in March 1946. The child was named after Moore's mother, who had died two years earlier. Both the loss of his mother and the arrival of a baby focused Moore's mind on the family, which he expressed in his work by producing many "mother-and-child" compositions, although reclining and internal/external figures also remained popular. In the same year, Moore made his first visit to America when a retrospective exhibition of his work opened at the Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world...

 in New York City. From the late 1930's Kenneth Clark
Kenneth Clark
Kenneth McKenzie Clark, Baron Clark, OM, CH, KCB, FBA was a British author, museum director, broadcaster, and one of the best-known art historians of his generation...

 became an unlikely but influential champion of Moore's work, and through his position as member of the Arts Council of Great Britain
Arts Council of Great Britain
The Arts Council of Great Britain was a non-departmental public body dedicated to the promotion of the fine arts in Great Britain. The Arts Council of Great Britain was divided in 1994 to form the Arts Council of England , the Scottish Arts Council, and the Arts Council of Wales...

 he secured exhibitions and commissions for the artist. In 1948, Moore won the International Sculpture Prize at the Venice Biennale
Venice Biennale
The Venice Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years in Venice, Italy. The Venice Film Festival is part of it. So too is the Venice Biennale of Architecture, which is held in even years...

 and was one of the featured artists of the Festival of Britain
Festival of Britain
The Festival of Britain was a national exhibition in Britain in the summer of 1951. It was organised by the government to give Britons a feeling of recovery in the aftermath of war and to promote good quality design in the rebuilding of British towns and cities. The Festival's centrepiece was in...

 in 1951 and documenta 1
Documenta
documenta is an exhibition of modern and contemporary art which takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany. It was founded by artist, teacher and curator Arnold Bode in 1955 as part of the Bundesgartenschau which took place in Kassel at that time...

 in 1955.

Before the war, Moore had been approached by educator Henry Morris
Henry Morris (education)
Henry Morris is known primarily as the founder of Village Colleges. He was the Chief Education Officer for Cambridgeshire for over thirty years, taking up the post in 1922 during a time of depression in the United Kingdom following the First World War.-Early life:Morris was born in Southport in...

, who was trying to reform education with his concept of the Village College
Village College
The village college is an institution specific to Cambridgeshire, England . It caters for the education of 11 to 16 year olds during the day,...

. Morris had engaged Walter Gropius
Walter Gropius
Walter Adolph Georg Gropius was a German architect and founder of the Bauhaus School who, along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture....

 as the architect for his second village college at Impington near Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

, and he wanted Moore to design a major public sculpture for the site. The County Council, however, could not afford Gropius's full design, and scaled back the project when Gropius emigrated to America. Lacking funds, Morris had to cancel Moore's sculpture, which had not progressed beyond the maquette stage. Moore was able to reuse the design in 1950 for a similar commission outside a secondary school for the new town of Stevenage
Stevenage
Stevenage is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England. It is situated to the east of junctions 7 and 8 of the A1, and is between Letchworth Garden City to the north, and Welwyn Garden City to the south....

. This time, the project was completed and Family Group became Moore's first large-scale public bronze.

In the 1950s, Moore began to receive increasingly significant commissions, including a reclining figure for the UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 building in Paris in 1958. With many more public works of art, the scale of Moore's sculptures grew significantly and he started to employ an increasing number of assistants to work with him at Much Hadham, including Anthony Caro
Anthony Caro
Sir Anthony Alfred Caro, OM, CBE is an English abstract sculptor whose work is characterised by assemblages of metal using 'found' industrial objects.-Background and early life:...

 and Richard Wentworth.

On the campus of the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 in December 1967, 25 years to the minute after the team of physicists led by Enrico Fermi
Enrico Fermi
Enrico Fermi was an Italian-born, naturalized American physicist particularly known for his work on the development of the first nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1, and for his contributions to the development of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics...

 achieved the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, Moore's Nuclear Energy
Nuclear Energy (Henry Moore sculpture)
Nuclear Energy is a bronze sculpture by Henry Moore that is located on the campus of the University of Chicago at the site of world's first nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1. It is on Ellis Avenue, between the Max Palevsky West dormitory and the Regenstein Library. This site is located in the Hyde...

was unveiled on the site of what was once the university's football field stands, in the squash courts beneath which the experiments had taken place. This 12-foot-tall piece in the middle of a large, open plaza is often thought to represent a mushroom cloud
Mushroom cloud
A mushroom cloud is a distinctive pyrocumulus mushroom-shaped cloud of condensed water vapor or debris resulting from a very large explosion. They are most commonly associated with nuclear explosions, but any sufficiently large blast will produce the same sort of effect. They can be caused by...

 topped by a massive human skull, but Moore's interpretation was very different. He once told a friend that he hoped viewers would "go around it, looking out through the open spaces, and that they may have a feeling of being in a cathedral." In Chicago, Illinois, Moore also commemorated science with a large bronze sundial, locally named Man Enters the Cosmos
Man Enters the Cosmos
Man Enters the Cosmos is a cast bronze sculpture by Henry Moore located on the Lake Michigan lakefront outside the Adler Planetarium in the Museum Campus area of downtown Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States...

(1980), which was commissioned to recognize the space exploration
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

 program.
The last three decades of Moore's life continued in a similar vein; several major retrospectives took place around the world, notably a very prominent exhibition in the summer of 1972 in the grounds of the Forte di Belvedere
Belvedere (fort)
The Forte di Belvedere or Fortezza di Santa Maria in San Giorgio del Belvedere is a fortification in Florence, Italy...

 overlooking Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

. Following the pioneering documentary 'Henry Moore', produced by John Read in 1951, he appeared in many films. In 1964, for instance, Moore was featured in the documentary "5 British Sculptors (Work and Talk)" by American filmmaker Warren Forma
Warren Forma
Warren Forma is an American filmmaker and author, best known for his "Artists at Work" documentary film series and book on European and American painters and sculptors in the 1960s and 1970s, his 1973 novel The Falling Man, which contrasts the violence of 1920's Ireland and 1940's Harlem, New...

. By the end of the 1970s, there were some 40 exhibitions a year featuring his work. The number of commissions continued to increase; he completed Knife Edge Two Piece in 1962 for College Green
College Green (London)
College Green in London is a small grass-covered public area diagonally opposite the Palace of Westminster at the corner of Millbank and Abingdon Street, and is a common place for TV reporters to interview Members of Parliament.-Location:...

 near the Houses of Parliament
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

 in London. According to Moore, "When I was offered the site near the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 ... I liked the place so much that I didn't bother to go and see an alternative site in Hyde Park
Hyde Park, London
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in central London, United Kingdom, and one of the Royal Parks of London, famous for its Speakers' Corner.The park is divided in two by the Serpentine...

 — one lonely sculpture can be lost in a large park. The House of Lords site is quite different. It is next to a path where people walk and it has a few seats where they can sit and contemplate it."

As his wealth grew, Moore began to worry about his legacy. With the help of his daughter Mary, he set up the Henry Moore Trust in 1972, with a view to protecting his estate from death duties
Inheritance Tax (United Kingdom)
In the United Kingdom, Inheritance Tax is a transfer tax. It was introduced with effect from 18 March 1986 replacing Capital Transfer Tax.-History:...

. By 1977, he was paying close to a million pounds a year in income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

; to mitigate his tax burden, he established the Henry Moore Foundation
Henry Moore Foundation
The Henry Moore Foundation is a registered charity in England, established for education and promotion of the fine arts — in particular, to advance understanding of the works of Henry Moore. The charity was set up with a gift from the artist in 1977...

 as a registered charity with Irina and Mary as trustees. The Foundation was established to encourage the public appreciation of the visual arts and especially the works of Moore. It now runs his house and estate at Perry Green, with a gallery, sculpture park and studios.

Moore turned down a knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

hood in 1951 because he felt that the bestowal would lead to a perception of him as an establishment figure and that "such a title might tend to cut me off from fellow artists whose work has aims similar to mine". He was, however, awarded the Companion of Honour
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

 in 1955 and the Order of Merit
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

 in 1963. He was a trustee of both the National Gallery
National Gallery, London
The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media...

 and Tate Gallery
Tate Gallery
The Tate is an institution that houses the United Kingdom's national collection of British Art, and International Modern and Contemporary Art...

. His proposal that a wing of the latter should be devoted to his sculptures aroused hostility among some artists. In 1975, he became the first President of the Turner Society, which had been founded to campaign for a separate museum in which the whole Turner Bequest might be reunited, an aim defeated by the National Gallery and Tate Gallery.

Henry Moore died on 31 August 1986, at the age of 88, in his home in Much Hadham
Much Hadham
Much Hadham is a village and civil parish in the district of East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, England, formerly known as Great Hadham. It is situated on the B1004 road, midway between Ware and Bishop's Stortford...

, Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

 where his body is interred in Perry Green churchyard .

In December 2005, thieves entered a courtyard st the Henry Moore Foundation and stole a bronze sculpture. Closed-circuit-television footage showed that they used a crane to lower the piece onto a stolen flatbed truck. The 1969–70 work, known as Reclining Figure (LH 608) is 3.6 metres long, 2 metres high by 2 metres wide, and weighs 2.1 tonnes. A substantial reward was offered by the Foundation for information leading to its recovery. By May 2009, after a thorough investigation, British officials said they believe the work, once valued at £3 million (US$5.3 million), was probably sold for scrap metal, fetching about £5,000.

Style

The aftermath of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, The Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

, and the age of the atomic bomb instilled in the sculpture of the mid-1940s a sense that art should return to its pre-cultural and pre-rational origins. In the literature of the day, writers such as Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, particularly Marxism, and was one of the key figures in literary...

 advocated a similar reductive philosophy. At an introductory speech in New York City for an exhibition of one of the finest modernist
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 sculptors, Alberto Giacometti
Alberto Giacometti
Alberto Giacometti was a Swiss sculptor, painter, draughtsman, and printmaker.Alberto Giacometti was born in the canton Graubünden's southerly alpine valley Val Bregaglia and came from an artistic background; his father, Giovanni, was a well-known post-Impressionist painter...

, Sartre spoke of "The beginning and the end of history". Moore's sense of England emerging undefeated from siege led to his focus on pieces characterised by endurance and continuity.

Moore's signature form is a reclining figure. Moore's exploration of this form, under the influence of the Toltec-Mayan figure he had seen at the Louvre, was to lead him to increasing abstraction as he turned his thoughts towards experimentation with the elements of design. Moore's earlier reclining figures deal principally with mass, while his later ones contrast the solid elements of the sculpture with the space, not only round them but generally through them as he pierced the forms with openings.

Earlier figures are pierced in a conventional manner, in which bent limbs separate from and rejoin the body. The later, more abstract figures are often penetrated by spaces directly through the body, by which means Moore explores and alternates concave and convex shapes. These more extreme piercings developed in parallel with Barbara Hepworth
Barbara Hepworth
Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE was an English sculptor. Her work exemplifies Modernism, and with such contemporaries as Ivon Hitchens, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo she helped to develop modern art in Britain.-Life and work:Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth was born on 10 January 1903 in Wakefield,...

's sculptures. Hepworth first pierced a torso after misreading a review of one of Henry Moore's early shows. The plaster Reclining Figure: Festival (1951) in the Tate
Tate
-Places:*Tate, Georgia, a town in the United States*Tate County, Mississippi, a county in the United States*Táté, the Hungarian name for Totoi village, Sântimbru Commune, Alba County, Romania*Tate, Filipino word for States...

, is characteristic of Moore's later sculptures: an abstract female figure intercut with voids. As with much of the post-War work, there are several bronze casts of this sculpture. When Moore's niece asked why his sculptures had such simple titles, he replied,
"All art should have a certain mystery and should make demands on the spectator. Giving a sculpture or a drawing too explicit a title takes away part of that mystery so that the spectator moves on to the next object, making no effort to ponder the meaning of what he has just seen. Everyone thinks that he or she looks but they don't really, you know."


Moore's early work is focused on direct carving, in which the form of the sculpture evolves as the artist repeatedly whittles away at the block. In the 1930s, Moore's transition into modernism
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 paralleled that of Barbara Hepworth; the two exchanged new ideas with each other and several other artists then living in Hampstead. Moore made many preparatory sketches
Sketch (drawing)
A sketch is a rapidly executed freehand drawing that is not usually intended as a finished work...

 and drawings for each sculpture. Most of these sketchbooks have survived and provide insight into Moore's development. He placed great importance on drawing; even when he had arthritis, he still was able to draw.

After the Second World War, Moore's bronzes took on their larger scale, which was particularly suited for public art commissions. As a matter of practicality, he largely abandoned direct carving, and took on several assistants to help produce the larger forms based on maquettes. By the end of the 1940s, he produced sculptures increasingly by modelling, working out the shape in clay or plaster before casting the final work in bronze using the lost wax technique. These maquettes often began as small forms shaped by Moore's hands—a process which gives his work an organic feeling. They are from the body.
At his home in Much Hadham, Moore built up a collection of natural objects; skulls, driftwood, pebbles, rocks and shells, which he would use to provide inspiration for organic forms. For his largest works, he usually produced a half-scale, working model before scaling up for the final moulding
Molding (process)
Molding or moulding is the process of manufacturing by shaping pliable raw material using a rigid frame or model called a pattern....

 and casting
Casting
In metalworking, casting involves pouring liquid metal into a mold, which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape, and then allowing it to cool and solidify. The solidified part is also known as a casting, which is ejected or broken out of the mold to complete the process...

 at a bronze foundry
Foundry
A foundry is a factory that produces metal castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal in a mold, and removing the mold material or casting after the metal has solidified as it cools. The most common metals processed are aluminum and cast iron...

. Moore often refined the final full plaster shape and added surface marks before casting.

Moore produced at least three significant examples of architectural sculpture during his career. In 1928, despite his own self-described "extreme reservations", he accepted his first public commission for West Wind for the London Underground
London Underground
The London Underground is a rapid transit system serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex in England...

 Building at 55 Broadway
55 Broadway
55 Broadway is a notable building overlooking St. James's Park in London. It was designed by Charles Holden and built between 1927 and 1929, and in 1931 the building earned him the RIBA London Architecture Medal...

 in London, joining the company of Jacob Epstein
Jacob Epstein
Sir Jacob Epstein KBE was an American-born British sculptor who helped pioneer modern sculpture. He was born in the United States, and moved to Europe in 1902, becoming a British citizen in 1911. He often produced controversial works which challenged taboos on what was appropriate subject matter...

 and Eric Gill
Eric Gill
Arthur Eric Rowton Gill was a British sculptor, typeface designer, stonecutter and printmaker, who was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement...

. In 1953, he completed a four-part concrete screen for the Time-Life Building in New Bond Street, London, and in 1955 Moore turned to his first and only work in carved brick, "Wall Relief" at the Bouwcentrum in Rotterdam. The brick relief was sculptured with 16,000 bricks by two Dutch bricklayers under Moore's supervision.

Legacy

Most sculptors who emerged during the height of Moore's fame, and in the aftermath of his death, found themselves cast in his shadow. By the late 1940s, Moore was a worldwide celebrity; he was the voice of British sculpture, and of British modernism in general. The next generation was constantly compared against him, and reacted by challenging his legacy, his "establishment" credentials and his position. At the 1952 Venice Biennale
Venice Biennale
The Venice Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years in Venice, Italy. The Venice Film Festival is part of it. So too is the Venice Biennale of Architecture, which is held in even years...

, eight new British sculptors produced their Geometry of Fear works as a direct contrast to the ideals behind Moore's idea of Endurance, Continuity.

Yet Moore had a direct influence on several generations of sculptors of both British and international reputation. Among the artists who have acknowledged Moore's importance to their work are Sir Anthony Caro, Phillip King and Isaac Witkin
Isaac Witkin
Isaac Witkin, internationally renowned modern sculptor, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on 10 May 1936, and he died 23 April 2006. Witkin entered St Martin’s School of Art in London, in 1957. Studying under Sir Anthony Caro and alongside other luminaries in training such as Phillip King,...

, all three having been assistants to Moore. Other artists whose work was influenced by him include Lynn Chadwick
Lynn Chadwick
Lynn Russell Chadwick CBE was an English artist and sculptor trained as an architectural draughtsman,but began producing metal mobile sculpture during the 1940s. Chadwick was born in London and went to Merchant Taylor's School.Chadwick was commissioned to produce 3 works for the 1951 Festival of...

, Eduardo Paolozzi
Eduardo Paolozzi
Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi, KBE, RA , was a Scottish sculptor and artist. He was a major figure in the international art sphere, while, working on his own interpretation and vision of the world. Paolozzi investigated how we can fit into the modern world to resemble our fragmented civilization...

, Bernard Meadows
Bernard Meadows
Bernard Meadows was a British modernist sculptor. He was part of the 'Geometry of fear school', a loose-knit group of British sculptors whose prominence was established at the 1952 Venice Biennale.- Early life :...

, Reg Butler
Reg Butler
Reginald Cotterell Butler was an English sculptor. He studied and lectured at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London from 1937 to 1939. He was a conscientious objector during the Second World War, being exempted from military service conditional upon setting up a small...

, William Turnbull, Robert Adams, Kenneth Armitage, and Geoffrey Clarke.

Today, the Henry Moore Foundation
Henry Moore Foundation
The Henry Moore Foundation is a registered charity in England, established for education and promotion of the fine arts — in particular, to advance understanding of the works of Henry Moore. The charity was set up with a gift from the artist in 1977...

 manages the artist's former home at Perry Green in Hertfordshire as a visitor destination, with 70 acres of sculpture grounds as well as his restored house and studios. It also runs the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds which organises exhibitions and research activities in international sculpture. Popular interest in Moore's work was perceived by some to have declined for a while in the UK but has been revived in recent times by exhibitions including Henry Moore at Tate Britain in 2010 and Moore at Kew and Hatfield in 2007 and 2011 respectively. The Foundation he endowed continues to play an essential role in promoting contemporary art in the United Kingdom and abroad through its grants and exhibitions programme.

External links

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