b. 1898 Yorkshire, England, d. 1986 Hertfordshire, England
sculptor; draftsman; printmaker; photographer
Sculpture is an art of the open air. Daylight, sunlight, is necessary to it, and for me its best setting and compliment is nature. I would rather have a piece of my sculpture put in a landscape, almost any landscape, than in or on the most beautiful building I know. --Henry Moore
Henry Moore's sculptures are archetypal forms suggesting elemental or indefinable truths about being and nature. The human figure, most often female, served as the basis for Moore's exploration of broad themes--from change and metamorphosis to war and conflict. The seventh child of a coal miner, Moore signed up at seventeen for the army in World War I. At the end of the war, he enrolled at Leeds School of Art where he was quickly recognized as a star pupil. From the outset of his career, Moore believed passionately in direct carving: all of his early work in stone or wood was painstakingly carved by hand. His insistence on carving and truth to materials was partly inspired by a deep appreciation for non-Western sculpture; African, Oceanic, and especially Pre-Columbian art captivated the young sculptor. Based in London, Moore associated with other British sculptors including Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson. In the 1930s, Moore was a prominent but somewhat controversial avant-garde personality, but after World War II he became internationally known. This newfound success coincided with a shift in both his subject matter and materials. In the post-war period, Moore focused on more traditional, populist imagery, including draped figures and the theme of mother and child. He also strove to create work that was more three-dimensional, that revealed itself from all sides. Finally, Moore largely abandoned direct carving for modelling and began working principally in bronze. This allowed him to increase both the scale and quantity of his work.