Henry Moore's prints, echoing the essence of his abstract sculptures inspired by bones and stones, exhibit captivating negative spaces, organic forms and fluid, dynamic lines. If you’re looking for original Henry Moore prints and editions for sale or would like to sell, request a complimentary valuation and browse our network’s most in-demand works.
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Henry Spencer Moore was an English artist, one of the most significant and innovative sculptors of the 20th century, and a key proponent of the Modernist art movement. Born on July 30, 1898, in Castleford, Yorkshire, Moore is best known for his abstract and semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures, located around the world, largely as public works of art. His work bridged the gap between traditional figurative sculpture and the emerging abstract movements of European modernism, making him an important and influential figure in the world of modern art.
Moore was the seventh of eight children born to Raymond Spencer Moore, a coal miner, and his wife, Mary Baker. Despite his humble beginnings, Moore's artistic talent was evident from an early age. He was encouraged by his art teacher at Castleford Grammar School, and by the age of 16, he was determined to become a sculptor. After serving in the British Army during World War I, Moore won a scholarship to study at the Leeds School of Art in 1919.
In 1921, Moore was awarded a scholarship to attend the prestigious Royal College of Art (RCA) in London. It was during this time that he was exposed to the works of European modernist sculptors such as Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brâncuși, and Alberto Giacometti. He was particularly inspired by the non-Western art he saw at the British Museum, including African and Mexican sculptures, which greatly influenced his art practice. Graduating from the RCA in 1924, Moore then received a travelling scholarship to study in Italy, where he was exposed to the works of the great Italian Renaissance sculptors Michelangelo, Donatello, and Lorenzo Ghiberti.
Returning to London in 1925, Moore began teaching at the RCA and later at the Chelsea School of Art. Throughout the 1930s, he became increasingly well known in the British art world, and his sculptures started to gain international recognition, with exhibitions in Europe and America. Moore's work shifted towards abstraction during this period, with an emphasis on the human figure and the relationship between the body and the landscape.
Image © Sotheby's / Reclining Figure: Festival © Henry Moore 1951
Reclining Figure: Festival (1951) marks a significant milestone in Henry Moore's career as it represents his first life-size reclining figure, specially commissioned for the Festival of Britain in 1951. This work initially attracted criticism: some considered it a radical abstraction, while others found it audacious, reminiscent of the skeletal remains of war victims. However, more appropriately, the work was also celebrated for its innovative approach and embodiment of humanist aesthetics, setting an unprecedented benchmark for the trajectory of British Modernism.
In addition to its creative impact on Modern art, Moore's Reclining Figure: Festival has demonstrated remarkable value and appreciation in the secondary market. The above edition 5 has been successfully sold three times, increasing in value with each consecutive sale. Most recently, the work sold at Sotheby's in November 2022, setting a new auction record for Moore, fetching £26,361,314 (fees included).
Image © Christie's / Reclining Figure © Henry Moore 1982
The reclining figure motif held a profound significance for Henry Moore, transcending its status as a mere emblem to become a thematic development continuously explored throughout his career. The above Reclining Figure (1982) twists and contorts through the mid-torso, skillfully maintaining a delicate weight balance through the hip, firmly rooted within the forearm and two feet. Unlike his earlier explorations, Moore introduces a drapery around the two feet, enhancing balance and stability within the contorted body, attributes of formalism and elegance, inviting contemplation from various angles.
This work is an edition of nine and sold at Christie's in November 2017 for an impressive sum of £8,392,340 (fees included). Another edition of this same work also sold at Christie's in November 2018, commanding £7,171,584 (fees included). These achievements firmly establish these works among Moore's top-selling pieces, further attesting to their artistic merit and market value.
Further exploring the concept of balance, Henry Moore began to explore the physical fragmentation of sculptures, evident in Large Four Piece Reclining Figure (1972-1973). This work presents the reclining figure in four parts offering varied perspectives of each form. Upon close observation, the work gives the illusion that if manoeuvred in a specific way, the forms could align and interlock within various places. Although fragmented, the same sense of balance and harmony is achieved through the intentional staking and placement of each piece. Moore's artistic genius lies in his ability to depict the human form in a paradoxically uncanny yet recognisable manner, blending elements of modernity, surrealism, and constructivism.
Large Four Piece Reclining Figure is within Moore's top-selling works, realising £6,350,513 (fees included) at Christie's in May 2017.
Image © Sotheby's / Seated Woman © Henry Moore 1957