Henry Moore's Auden Poems print portfolio sees the powerful emotion of W.H. Auden's poetry meet richly atmospheric lithographs by Henry Moore. The evocative synergy between words and images makes for a profound exploration of themes such as love, loss, and the human condition.

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Meaning & Analysis

Henry Moore's Auden Poems print portfolio is a remarkable fusion of poetry and visual art. Published from 1973-4, Henry Moore worked with Petersburg Press to produce a book edition totalling 330 and a portfolio edition of 75. The book edition comprised 21 lithographs - 17 in-folio and four loose - of which 150 copies were bound in black, and 150 (numbered in Roman numerals) were bound in green. In addition, there were 10 hors-commerce copies of the book edition and artist proofs. The portfolio-only version of Auden Poems, released in an edition of 75, comprised 18 loose lithographs in a red-bound portfolio case.

In this portfolio, Henry Moore's clear aim is to create a series of artworks that complement and enhance the profound themes explored in Auden's poetry. W. H. Auden was a British poet famed for such poems as Funeral Blues (Stop All The Clocks), Autumn Song and Lullaby. Born in 1907, Auden's poetry largely responds to the complexity of human emotions and the political landscape of his time, most notably, the human tragedy of both World Wars.

Responding to these truly moving poems by Auden, Henry Moore's visual interpretation is notably dark and moody. He exploits the textural richness and technical capacity to create large fields of dark shading that is innate to the lithographic medium; the atmospheric impact of this can be seen clearly in the print Divided Landscape, which is overwhelmingly overcast. The composition of Divided Landscape features organic, curvilinear forms that suggest geological features or the contours of the human body. While the horizon line which divides the print like a white scar is the only clearly visible feature, the artist's skilful manipulation of shadow is by no means lacking a rich sense of depth and atmosphere. This style, which is used to represent landscapes and figures alike throughout Auden Poems, reflects Auden's often ominous sense of the future, and his expression of the mourning state and lack of political direction which overshadowed Britain post-war.

Moore's sculptural forms and the expressive lines in his drawings evoke a sense of vulnerability, longing, and resilience, resonating with Auden's poignant words. In Auden Poems, Moore's expressive style and ability to convey emotions, seen in both his sculptures and drawings, provides a worthy visual counterpart to Auden's poetic language.