MOORE , Henry (1898-1986)

Henry Moore: Seven Sculpture Ideas II, 1980


Henry Moore was celebrated as a sculptor but was strongly influenced in his formative years by painters such as Giotto, Masaccio, Blake, Turner and Picasso, as well as the painter/sculptor Michelangelo. Born in Castleford, Yorkshire., he attended Leeds School of Art from 1919-21. In 1921 Moore won a Royal Exhibition Scholarship to study sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London. He taught at the Royal College from 1924-31 and at Chelsea School of Art from 1932-39. He was given his first one-man show in 1928 by the Warren Gallery and in the same year he gained his first public commission – to carve a relief in stone for a façade of the new Underground Building, London.

Moore was a member of the Seven and Five Society from 1931 and he was invited to join Unit One; a group whose members included Edward Burra, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Edward Wadsworth. In 1946 Moore was given his first overseas retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1948 he won the International Sculpture Prize at the Venice Biennale. He had a retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery, London in 1951 and 1968. He was First prize winner at the Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil in 1953.

Moore was a Trustee of the National Gallery, London from 1955-74. In 1977 he formed the Henry Moore Foundation at Much Hadham in Hertfordshire.

He was notable throughout his career for his output of graphic art (drawings, watercolours, etchings, lithographs), not necessarily closely related to the development of individual works in sculpture. These unusually for a sculptor, often used colour and often established a complete pictorial setting for figures or for imaginary sculptural objects, in a manner recalling the work of De Chirico or Max Ernst. (He exhibited in the International Surrealist exhibition in 1936). During the Second World War, as an Official War Artist, he made a series of drawings of people sheltering in the London Underground, as well as studies of miners at the coalface. He frequently used watercolour over wax crayon employed as a resist.


Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings, D. Sylvester, H. Read, and Alan Bowness, 6 Vols, Lund Humphries, London, 1948-64

Henry Moore, Graphics in the Making, Pat Gilmour, Tate Gallery, 1975.