Henry Moore Prints
Henry Moore was born on 30 July, 1898, in Castleford, Yorkshire. In a family of eight children, Henry was the seventh child. His father worked in a colliery in Castleford. However, he didn’t want his children to work down in the mines, so as much as possible the children were educated at the local school even though they were very poor. He was determined to sit the examinations for a scholarship to the local art college, but his father, who was a very practical man, thought that he should follow the path of his oldest sister and begin the teaching profession.
After a very short time as a student teacher, Moore began teaching full-time at his old school in Castleford.Aged 18 he Henry enlisted in the army. Sadly, in 1917 he was injured during a gas attack at the Battle of Cambrai. After his injury, he spent the remainder of the war behind the line training new recruits. Moore later said the war was for him not a traumatic experience – unlike that of many of his contemporaries.
Moore eventually went back to his teaching job in Castleford, but he now knew that teaching in school was not for him. He applied for and received an ex-serviceman's grant to attend Leeds School of Art. At the end of his second year he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London. In 1924 Moore was appointed as sculpture instructor at the Royal College. It was there that he met Irina Radetsky, a painting student at the college, he would then marry her a year later. The couple lived in Hampstead, where they associated themselves with many aspiring young artists and writers, including Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Stephen Spender and Herbert Read. Moore now became involved in the art life of London.
His first commission, received in 1928, was to produce a sculpture relief for the newly opened Headquarters of London Transport at St James's Underground building. His first one-man exhibition, which consisted of forty-two sculptures and fifty-one drawings, opened at the Warren Gallery in 1928.
Moore's interest in non-Western art gave much of his early work a direct character, yet as he matured he became more interested in utilizing three dimensions.
It was this which led him to introduce 'holes' into his sculptures, so that the object almost seems to grow out of an absent centre. Just as the human body inspired Moore's forms, so too did the natural world, who often used objects such as pebbles and bones in his sculptures. The originality of Moore's approach was direct carving, something he obtained not only from European modernism, but also from non-Western art.
He threw away the process of modelling (often in clay or plaster) and casting (often in bronze) that had been the foundation of his art education, and instead worked on materials directly. He liked the intense involvement direct carving brought with materials such as wood and stone. It was important, he said, that the sculptor "gets the solid shape, as it were, inside his head... he identifies himself with its centre of gravity."
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