Henry  Moore

While sculpture was always Moore's primary interest, graphics became a significant part of his output during the second part of his life. His earliest prints were woodcuts made in the1930s, but it was not until 1950 that he produced his first major portfolio 'Prometheus'. He continued to make both etchings and lithographs regularly until his death.The best were for portfolios, which seemed to concentrate his creative energies. The 'Shelter Sketchbook' portfolio from the 1966 shows Moore as a fine colourist, whereas his final 'Mother and Child' portfolio celebrates one of his recurring themes in line.
Henry Moore was born in Castleford in Yorkshire in 1898 and from an early
age wanted to become a sculptor. After military service in World War I, he
studied at Leeds School of Art and subsequently at the Royal Academy
in London.
Moore became Instructor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy in 1924, a post
he held for seven years, and became influenced by Mexican, Egyptian and
African sculpture.
In the early ‘30s, Moore became a member of Unit One, a group of avante
garde artists, organised by Paul Nash, and was a close friend of Barbara
Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and the critic, Herbert Read. From 1932 – 1939 he taught at the Chelsea School of Art. One of the leaders of British abstraction , he was also an important force in the English Surrealist movement, exhibiting
at the International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936
Moore was appointed a war arrest in 1940, and his drawings of the
underground wartime shelters are one of the most poignant records of civilian
life in London. His first retrospective took place in 1941 at Temple Newsom,
Leeds, and in 1943 he received a commission to carve a Madonna and
Child for St. Matthew, Northampton – the first in a series of important family
groups. His first major overseas retrospective was at MoMA, New York in
1946, and in 1948 he won the International Prize for Sculpture at  the Venice
The post-war years cemented his reputation as one of the 20 century’s
greatest sculptors, and he received the Order of Merit in 1963. Major exhibitions of his work have been held in almost every significant
capital city
Moore’s graphic career began in the 1930’s, but he became increasingly active in the field in the 1960s. Much of his early prints were in lithography,
but in later years he turned to etching. His prints reflected the subjects of his
sculpture – sitting, standing and reclining figures – and of course, the family
group. His graphic work was catalogued by Alistair Grant, David Mitchinson,
and Patrick Cramer.


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