Henry Moore (born July 30, 1898 died August 31, 1986) was an English sculptor and painter of the 20th century, famous for abstract sculptures installed in many parks in England and America. Moore’s work brought him a huge income, allowing him to establish a charitable foundation for the protection of culture.
Henry Moore admitted that the female body almost always became a model for him. Family groups created in the 1950s are an exception. Some critics argue that the tilted and reclining figures evoke associations with the gentle hills of Yorkshire.
Henry Moore was born on July 30, 1898, in the town of Castleford, located in West Yorkshire. The father served in a local coal mine, but for his sons he wanted a different future and a decent education. The family did not live well, all older children had to earn money, attending school in their free time.
At the age of 11, Henry announced that he would become a sculptor. Parents objected, believing that this was hard physical labor without useful prospects. But the son passed the exams and entered the local art college as a scholar. At the age of 18, the young man went to the army, falling into the elite regiment of the Prince of Wales.
In 1917, in an attack at Burlon Wood, he was seriously injured, and after recovering, he remained as a physical training instructor. When the First World War ended in 1918, he received an education grant and chose an art school.
In 1921, Henry Moore earned a scholarship to King’s College.
But classical ideals quickly alienated the young artist. He was enthusiastic about the primitivism of Constantin Brancusi, Jacob Epstein, Frank Dobson. From them, he adopted the manner in which deficiencies in materials became parts of the statues.
In 1924, traveling around Europe, the sculptor studied the works of old masters: Michelangelo Buonarroti, Giotto di Bondone, Giovanni Pisano. In Paris, he became interested in a plaster copy of the Mayan Toltec samples of Chuck-Mool. They became the prototype of many of his works.
Returning home, Henry Moore began teaching at the college, where he had previously studied himself. At the same time, the master worked on the carving technique. His first solo exhibition took place in 1928. Then the artist met his love: Irina Radetskaya, a native of Kiev. Feeling mutual sympathy, the couple got married very quickly.
In subsequent years, the sculptor developed the direction of abstract art.
Moore was close friends with Pablo Picasso and supported the surrealist Paul Naschy. A scaled-down stone model of Mother and Child, which Henry Moore sold to Roland Penrose in 1937, caused a lively controversy in the local press: the new owner displayed the statue in his front garden. The sculptor himself was not embarrassed by the criticism. World War II brought Henry Moore fame outside of England. His sketches of Londoners hiding in the underground, participated in the exhibition “Britain at War” in the States.
One of the bombs that fell on the English capital touched the Moore’s house, and the couple moved to Hertfordshire. After the birth of his long-awaited daughter Mary in 1946, the artist created many sculptural groups dedicated to the family. Over the next three decades, street statues began to generate huge amounts of money for the family. An annual income tax of a million pounds forced Henry Moore to establish two charitable foundations, appointing a spouse and daughter as trustees.
Henry Moore was a supporter of modernism in art. Over time, his statues became more and more abstract. According to the author himself, after the horrors of the war, art had to be returned to the pre-cultural period. Henry Moore died at the age of 88. This happened on August 31, 1986. His ashes rest in St Paul’s Cathedral, London. The foundation named after him still exists, and his works are incredibly highly valued. In 2012, The Reclining Figure: Festival, commemorating the heroism of the British in the war, was sold for 19 million pounds.
The most famous paintings and sculptures by Henry Moore
Sculptures by Henry Moore, sketches by pen, numerous models show changes in the artist’s view over time. The most famous of his works:
- The Reclining Figure (1929) was inspired by the sculptures of Chuck Mool.
- “Sketch of a Man: Mother and Child” (1941) appeared under the impression of the crowds he saw who had taken refuge from the bombing in the London Underground.
- Family Group (1950) bronze sculpture, the first large-scale work after the Second World War.
- The Lying Figure (1953) is one of the many sculptures created by the author, in which female forms are guessed.
- “The King and Queen” (1957) the creation of the statue is inspired by the samples of Ancient Egypt. Art critics see the author himself and his wife in the work.
- “Dressed reclining woman. Old Flo “(1957-1958) was created under the influence of the ancient idols of the Maya Toltecs. The author experimented with design elements and draperies.
- “Sheared sheep with a lamb” (1974) one of the sketches with a ballpoint pen, with a characteristic manner of twisting the lines, and their thickness to convey the volume. For the author, sheep have always symbolized the vastness of his native England.