Henry Moore [1898 – 1986]

English artist

Henry Spencer Moore

was born,
30 July, 1898
in Castleford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England

One of the most significant British artists of the twentieth century, Moore was the son of a miner and the seventh of eight children.

He is best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures which are located around the world as public works of art. As well as sculpture, Moore produced many drawings, including a series depicting Londoners sheltering from the Blitz during the Second World War, along with other graphic works on paper.

His forms are usually abstractions of the human figure, typically depicting mother-and-child or reclining figures. Moore’s works are usually suggestive of the female body, apart from a phase in the 1950s when he sculpted family groups. His forms are generally pierced or contain hollow spaces.

Moore became well known through his carved marble and larger-scale abstract cast bronze sculptures, and was instrumental in introducing a particular form of modernism to the United Kingdom. His ability in later life to fulfill large-scale commissions made him exceptionally wealthy. Despite this, he lived frugally; most of the money he earned went towards endowing the Henry Moore Foundation, which continues to support education and promotion of the arts.

So here’s a glimpse of his work & words
Composition 1932 [Tate Gallery 1960 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T00385 ]

“All art is an abstraction to some degree.”

Knife Edge Two Piece (1962–65) (bronze), (1962), opposite House of Lords, London

“Art is a continuous activity with no separation between past and present.”

Large Reclining Figure (1984, based on a smaller model of 1938), Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

“Art is not to do with the practical side of making a living. It’s to live a fuller human life. “

Man Enters the Cosmos Sundial Outside the Adler Planetarium

“To be an artist is to believe in life. “

Moore’s bronze Draped Reclining Woman 1957-58 (“Die Liegende”) in Stuttgart, typical of his early reclining figures

“The important thing is somehow to begin.”

Nuclear Energy (1967), at the University of Chicago

“If an artist tries consciously to do something to others, it is to stretch their eyes, their thoughts, to something they would not see or feel if the artist had not done it. To do this, he has to stretch his own first.”

Sculpture with Hole and Light (1967), Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

“It is a mistake for a sculptor or a painter to speak or write very often about his job. It releases tension needed for his work. “

Double Oval (1966), Jardine House, Central, Hong Kong

“The artist works with a concentration of his whole personality, and the conscious part of it resolves conflicts, organized memories, and prevents him from trying to walk in two directions at the same time.”

Way Piece No. 2 (The Archer), (1964–65) has been on display in front of Toronto City Hall in Nathan Phillips Square since 1966.

“Now I really make the little idea from clay, and I hold it in my hand. I can turn it, look at it from underneath, see it from one view, hold it against the sky, imagine it any size I like, and really be in control, almost like God creating something. “

Piece Sculpture -Vertebrae (1968–69), Henry Moore, Kunsthalle Würth, 74523 Schwäbish Hall 2005

“Discipline in art is a fundamental struggle to understand oneself, as much as to understand what one is drawing.”

Large Square Form with Cut (1969–71), (marble), Piazza San Marco, Prato

“I’m very grateful that I was too poor to get to art school until I was 21… I was old enough when I got there to know how to get something out of it. (Henry Moore) “

Reclining Figure (1982), Henry Moore – Kunst in Schwäbisch Hall

“A work can have in it a pent-up energy, an intense life of its own, independent of the subject it may represent. “

Sheep Piece (1971–72), Zürichhorn, Zürich-Seefeld, Switzerland

“Sculpture is an art of the open air… 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.”

Three Piece Reclining Figure No.1 (1961), Yorkshire Sculpture Park

“Between beauty of expression and power of expression there is a difference of function. The first aims at pleasing the senses, the second has a spiritual vitality which for me is more moving and goes deeper than the senses.”

Wall Relief No. 1, (1955), Bouwcentrum, Rotterdam

“Our knowledge of shape and form remains, in general, a mixture of visual and of tactile experiences… A child learns about roundness from handling a ball far more than from looking at it.”

Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 5 (1963–64), bronze, Kenwood House grounds, London

“If I set out to sculpt a standing man and it becomes a lying woman, I know I am making art.”

The Arch (1963/69), Henry Moore – Kunst in Schwäbisch Hall

“The construction of the human figure, its tremendous variety of balance, of size, of rhythm, all those things make the human form much more difficult to get right in a drawing than anything else.”

Large Two Forms (1969), Art Gallery of Ontario

“I sometimes begin a drawing with no preconceived problem to solve, with only the desire to use pencil on paper… but as my eye takes in what is so produced, a point arrives where some idea crystallizes, and then a control and ordering begins to take place.”

Large Interior Form (1953–54), Henry Moore – Kunst in Schwäbisch Hall

“A sculptor is a person who is interested in the shape of things, a poet in words, a musician by sounds. “

Family Group (1950) bronze, Barclay School, Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Moore’s first large-scale commission after World War II.

“I don’t know of any good work of art that doesn’t have a mystery. “

Draped Seated Woman (1957–58), Hebrew University of Jerusalem

“The whole of nature is an endless demonstration of shape and form. It always surprises me when artists try to escape from this. “

The Art Gallery of Ontario’s Henry Moore collection is the largest public collection of his works in the world

“The observation of nature is part of an artist’s life, it enlarges his form and knowledge, keeps him fresh and from working only by formula, and feeds inspiration.”

West Wind, 1928–29; Moore’s first public commission was carved from Portland stone and shows the influence of Michelangelo’s figures for the Medici Chapel and the Chac Mool figure.

“The creative habit is like a drug. The particular obsession changes, but the excitement, the thrill of your creation lasts.”

Recumbent Figure 1938 [http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05387]

“All the arts are based on the senses. What they do for the person who practices them, and also the persons interested in them, is make that particular sense more active and more acute.”

Oval with Points (1968–70), Henry Moore Foundation

“One mustn’t let technique be the consciously important thing. It should be at the service of expressing the form.”



Accompanied by…

Henry Moore Discusses His Elemental Masterpieces

Henry Moore (1951) BBC Television Documentary

Written and Produced by John Read

1/4 Henry Moore: A Culture Show Special (2010)

Presented by Alan Yentob pt 1/4

2/4 Henry Moore: A Culture Show Special (2010)

Presented by Alan Yentob pt2/4

3/4 Henry Moore: A Culture Show Special (2010)

Presented by Alan Yentob pt3/4

4/4 Henry Moore: A Culture Show Special (2010)

Presented by Alan Yentob pt4/4

For more information on Moore:











Be Safe 🏡

35 replies »

  1. I’ve seen a few of his sculptures when I worked in London and they are amazing pieces! It’s good to see them gathered here in one place, although not life-size. Thanks, Marina! 💐💐🙋‍♂️

    • I saw them back in 1990 while studying in London and they are amazing pieces indeed. I love “Oval and points”!
      Thank you, Ashley! Happy weekend!

  2. Thank you, Marina, for this introduction to Moore’s sculptures. They are amazing and wonderfully thought provoking. You remind me that I’ve always enjoyed sculpture when it’s put in front of my eyes 🙂

  3. I adore the works of Henry Moore!
    Helps that I live in Toronto, where the AGO, as you mentioned, has the worlds largest public collection. They have collected a lot of his drawings, as well as sculptures.
    Many times I have sat in the cradle of Two Large Forms.

    Yay, finally an artist, I know lots about. Toronto embraced his art. It is a very modern city, and his sculptures work well with all the new and boring buildings.

    • Yay!!!!! I’m so glad you are able [and already have!] to see his work live! Those curves huh? Lucky you!!!!!!!!!
      Many many hugs and xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
      ps I’m so so behind with catching up!!!!!!

      • That beautiful Moore that was outside the Art Gallery of Ontario for over 40 years is gone.
        I guess it ran out of favour? I saw them erecting a new statue.
        It is so different. I don’t want to like it, but I’ll give it a chance.
        I’ll take pics for you…of the new statue.

        • There are worse things that could happen to an art piece like what I read in wikipedia about this : “A second full-size plaster version was exhibited at the Tate Gallery in 1964: the Tate declined the opportunity to buy it, and it was destroyed in 1971”
          Good one huh?!!!!
          I hope nothing similar happened to yours!
          I’d like to see what replaced it!

  4. I’m glad you included some of Moore’s drawings, as I was familiar only with his sculptures. Do you know whether the characteristic piercings and hollow spaces in his sculptures symbolized something for him?

  5. Some fascinating forms there. I think Vertebrae is my favourite amongst the above collection.

    Happy Friday, Marina, and enjoy the weekend ahead.


  6. This is the most fabulous post, Marina. I had never heard of Henry Moore before and your introduction is stellar. I will be coming back to this post in days ahead. Thank you so much for your efforts to bring out this remarkable artist. Hugs coming from afar.

    • Oh, I’m so glad I introduced him to you, my dearest Rebecca. He’s an artist I know you will appreciate his work!
      Many many hugs to you and wishes for a wonderful weekend. 🤗🌻

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