Henry Moore is regarded as one of Britain’s most important modern sculptors. He is renowned for his semi-abstract, biomorphic sculptures that broke away from traditional ideas of form, proportion and composition to represent the human figure in a new and exciting way.

Beginnings

Born in Yorkshire in 1898, Henry Moore was the son of a miner. He showed talent for drawing at school but was encouraged to become a teacher rather than an artist. However he soon found that this career did not suit him and signed up to serve the British Army during the First World War. Thanks to an ex-servicemen’s grant, after the war Moore was able to attend the Leeds School of Art where he began sculpting in stone, wood and bronze. In 1921 he went on to the Royal College of Art in London where he later became a teacher.

Initial success

By the early 1930s Moore had begun to achieve critical and commercial success, showing his sculptures in London galleries and earning his first public commission, a carved relief entitled West Wind, for the new headquarters of the London Underground at St. James’s. The work was heavily influenced by the style of Jacob Epstein who was a pioneer of Modernism. At the time he was living in Hampstead, surrounded by a creative network of artists such as Marcel Breuer, Naum Gabo, Barbara Hepworth, László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson, Roland Penrose and Herbert Read, who also had a huge impact on the development of his style.

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