Available Works: Moore, Henry
Henry Moore is widely acknowledged as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, and among the most important sculptors in the history of British art. He is best known for his much-loved public artworks, which draw the human figure towards monumental abstraction, without ever losing the personality of organic presence.
Born the son of a coal miner in Castleford, Yorkshire, Moore declared his interest in sculpture at an early age. Yet his parents disapproved of his proposed vocation, and it was not until Moore had survived service in the First World War, relatively unscathed, that he was able to pursue his studies at Leeds School of Art. Like his classmate Barbara Hepworth, Moore soon became dissatisfied with the prevalent school of romantic Victorian sculpture, turning his attention to modernists such as Constantin Brâncuşi and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. He complemented this interest studying the art of non-Western societies at the British Museum and the Trocadéro in Paris. These interests found their way into the artist’s practice in the form of his sensitively-managed abstraction of the human form, often reduced to a bold but ambiguous set of shapes.
Moore is also celebrated for his works on paper, such as his famous Shelter Drawings, which depicted Londoners sleeping in underground stations during the Blitz. It was at this time that the abstraction of the human form took on a resonance with the extreme political conditions of the 1930s and 40s; humanity was reduced to “an abject aggregate,” as critic David Alan Mellor has put it. With their empathetic exposition of human frailty, these wartime pieces were seen as a moving act of historical testimony, greatly enhancing Moore’s international standing. They also marked the beginning of his interest in drapery, a characteristic of much religious art, which underlines the spiritual, iconic nature of the artist’s work.