Henry Moore is regarded as Britain’s most important sculptors of the 20th century. Renowned for his semi-abstract, surreal, bronze sculptures; influenced by non-western, tribal art (such as the Chac Mool from the Mayan settlement in Chichen Itza, Mexico), which can be seen in public spaces around the world.
Always a talented graphic artist and draughtsman, Henry Moore began sculpting in stone, wood and bronze whilst studying art at Leeds School of Art in 1919. Early on, Moore’s work broke away from the traditional ideas of form, proportions and composition; to create abstract sculptors, usually of the human figure, and often reclining. Moore’s sculptures are usually suggestive of the female form, capturing the figure’s emotional expression in harmony with the object’s materiality. In the 1930s, Moore transitioned into modernism, exploring even more abstract forms with bent limbs and pierced torsos.
In later years, his sculptures became larger and more monumental as public commissions began to roll in. These, Moore created initially with hand-moulded maquettes – in-line with his belief of ‘Truth to Materials’; he believed it was important that the sculptor “gets the solid shape, as it were, inside his head… he identifies himself with its centre of gravity.” The larger renditions of the sculptures required a number of assistants. Moore preferred to exhibit these sculptures in open landscapes such as sculpture parks and other public spaces, rather than the traditional art gallery setting.
Moore’s drawings and limited edition prints, which like many artists he used to develop his ideas (as he said: “My drawings are done mainly as a help towards making sculpture…as a way of sorting out ideas and developing them.”), have, over the years become highly sought after works of art in their own right.