An Introduction to Henry Moore : A Timeless Abstract Sculptor

Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Born on July 30, 1898 in Castleford, West Yorkshire, the English artist Henry Spencer Moore eventually went on to become one of the world's leading creative minds on the theme of abstract sculpture. His monuments of bronze and metals highlight the landscape of several art galleries, museums and sculpture parks across the globe. Moore began his fond interest for sculpture at an early age in his home town. He would constantly be seen playing with modeling clay and carving small designs out of wood. He decided that he wanted to become a great sculptor at the age of 11 when he was introduced to the history of a great sculptor: Michelangelo.


Henry Moore's "Two Piece Reclining Figure"
Photography by Andrew Dunn
 
At school, his talent and interest was fostered by his teachers, who granted him a scholarhip to Castleford Secondary School. His parents however, did not agree with the young man's ambition to pursue a full-time sculpting career, so in time Moore began a career as a teacher at the school he studied in. He also joined the army soon after that. He was one of the youngest participants in the Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles Regiment, but was injured during a gas attack in the Battle of Cambrai (1917). He eventually found his war-time experience to be beneficial to his career as an artist though. They granted him a way to continue his education and become the first student of sculture at the Leeds College of Art. There he met many famous sculptors and became good friends with many of them. He also won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London, where he studied extensively about primitive art and the Victorian style of romanticism in sculpture. Moore later on had a clash with his teacher- his method of carving involved leaving the natural scratchmark and toolmark from carving as part of the piece's finishing. This methodology was too modern for the professors at the college. Despite this, nothing hampered his desire to grow as a modernist sculptor.


Henry Moore's "Reclining Figure"
Photography by Andrew Dunn

Eventually, after spending time via another sculpture grant in Italy. Moore returned to London and became a teacher at the Royal College of Art. There, he married Irina Radetsky, a painting student. They later moved to Hampstead and joined a small groud of modernist artists.

In 1932, Moore became Head of the Sculpture Department at the Chelsea School of Art. Moore and several other sculptors playfully experimented with influences from Surrealism and other art movements, but this was called to a halt at the outbreak of World War II. Moore was commissioned to be a war artist and did several powerful artworks depicting the turmoil going around.  After their home was hit by a bomb, they moved to a place called Hoglands near Hertfordshire. During these years, Moore had a daughter- Mary Moore, named after his mother. His subjects then took a turn towards depicting family life. He later exhibited at the MoMA in New York City. This was followed by several achievements like the International Sculpture Prize at the Venice Biennale, the Companion of Honor (1955) and the Order of Merit (1963). He even turned down knighthood because he thought it might separate him from his place with the local artists.


Henry Moore's "Hill Arches"
Photography by John O' Neill

Despite his humility, by the late 1930's Henry Moore overshadowed all other modern sculptors who aspired to reach his level of achievement. He became the "Voice of British Sculpture" and his legacy would then be immortalized like the lasting sculptures he produced during his time.

5 comments:

{ Lump Sculpture Studio } at: April 3, 2012 at 2:22 PM said...

Needless to say, Henry Moore is a great inspiration to all artists. Lovely post, thank you.

{ Frenie Agbayani } at: October 28, 2014 at 1:31 AM said...

Such a gorgeous contemporary sculpture.

{ Lucy Branch } at: January 29, 2015 at 9:16 AM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
{ Lucy Branch } at: January 29, 2015 at 12:58 PM said...

There's a great photo of Henry Moore's Locking Piece near Tate Britain, London The Locking Piece and if you like Moore, then Julie Summers article Gilding The Lily: The patination of Henry Moore's bronze sculptures is worth reading.

{ Neeraj Gupta } at: January 12, 2017 at 9:43 PM said...

Great looking art
Mr Neeraj Gupta is one of the well known page 3 sculptures artist in India.

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