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Great Britons: 250 Lives

 

Henry Moore by Britain Unlimited
One of the most famous sculptors of the Twentieth Century famous for his abstract forms

 

When and Where was he Born?

30th July 1898. Castleford, Yorkshire, England.

Family Background:

Henry Moore was the seventh Child of eight of Raymond Spencer Moore, a coalminer and Mary Baker.

Education:

Castleford Grammar School. Leeds School of Art. Royal College of Art, London.

Chronology/Biography of Henry Moore:

1910: Began modeling and carving in wood and clay whilst still at Castleford Grammar School to which he had won a scholarship. He was fascinated by the work of Michelangelo who had become a sculptor at the age of eleven and decided to follow in his footsteps. He was taught by his enthusiastic art teacher Alice Gostick, who gave him a rounded education in the arts.

1914: Henry Moore asked by the Headmaster to design a Roll of Honour to record the names of all those Castleford boys who were marching off to fight in the First World War.

1915: After passing his Cambridge leaving certificate and a brief period as a student teacher he became a full teacher at Castleford Grammar School.

1917: Henry Moore enlisted in the Civil Service Rifles, Fifteenth London Regiment when he turned eighteen. Was soon sent to France, where he was involved in the Battle of Cambrai. He spent two months recovering in hospital after a gas attack. After leaving hospital he became a physical training instructor.

1919: After receiving an ex-serviceman's grant he became the first ever student of Sculpture at Leeds School of Art. He still lived in Castleford and took part in Miss Gostick's evening classes for pottery. The Vice Chancellor Sir Michael Sadler introduced him to the works of Cezanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh as well as Negro sculpture.

1920: He was influenced by Roger Fry's book "Vision and Design" which contained, amongst other things, articles on Negro and North American tribal Art. Among the other student's at Leeds was Barbara Hepworth, also to become a famous sculptor.

1921: Won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London.

1924: Henry Moore left the Royal College, and was awarded a traveling scholarship.

1925: Embarked on a six months study trip to Italy to study the old masters and visited Rome, Florence, Venice, Pisa, Sienna and Padua amongst other places. Start of his career as a Sculpture Tutor at the Royal College of Art.

1928: Received his first public commission from Charles Holden for the new London Transport Headquarters at St. James Park Underground Station. The result was the "West Wind" relief in Portland stone. First one man exhibition at the Warren Gallery in London.

1929: Finished "Reclining Figure" which was the first to indicate his own individual lyrical style. Moved to live in Hampstead with his new wife and became friends with other artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo.

1930: Henry Moore elected to the Seven and Five Society.

1931: Second major exhibition at the Leicester Galleries in London.

1932: Became Head of the Department of Sculpture at Chelsea School of Art.

1933: Became a member of Paul Nash's Unit One Group. Throughout the 1930's he had been a regular visitor to Paris and had been heavily influenced by Picasso Arp and the sculptor Giacometti. First began taking part in surrealist activities.

1934: Henry Moore contributed to the Unit One Exhibition at the Mayor Gallery in London.

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1936: The Museum of Modern Art in New York borrowed two of Moore's sculptures including "Two Forms" 1934, in wood for their "Cubism and Abstract Art" exhibition. These were later purchased and became the first major Moore's in an American collection. Visited Spain with his wife, notably Barcelona and Madrid to study their collections. Signed the manifesto urging the end of the British policy of non-intervention in Spain and attempted to go back to Spain with a group of artists including Auden to fight for the Republican's in the Spanish Civil War but his request for permission to travel was turned down by the British Government.

1939: Staying in his cottage in Kingston in Kent when the Second World War broke out. His teaching in Chelsea came to an end when the college was evacuated to Northampton.

1940: Their Hampstead home was damaged by a bomb in the blitz and they decided to move out of London to a farmhouse called Hoglsands in Perry Green in Hertfordshire, which was to become their home for the rest of their lives.

1941: Moore appointed an Official War Artist by Sir Kenneth Clark, the then Director of the National Gallery. His "Shelter" drawings about groups of people huddled in the London Underground during the bombings became world renowned. Held a retrospective exhibition at Leeds' Temple Newsam house with Graham Sutherland and John Piper.

1942: Henry Moore appointed to the Art Panel of the Council for the Encouragement of Music and Arts (Later to become the Arts Council of Great Britain).

1943: Commissioned by Canon Walter Hussey for a Madonna and Child for St. Matthew's Church in Northampton. First one man exhibition abroad at Bucholz Gallery New York.

1945: Given an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Leeds.

1946: (7th March) Birth of his first and only child, Mary. Traveled to New York to visit his traveling retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.

1948: Won the International Sculpture prize at the Venice Biennale.

1949: Henry Moore appointed a Trustee of the Tate Gallery in London.

1953: Won Second Prize at the Sao Paulo Bienale.

1955: Appointed a Trustee of the National Gallery in London. Awarded the Companion of Honour.

1957: Commissioned to construct his monumental reclining Figure for the UNESCO Building in Paris.

1962: Henry Moore completed the "Knife Edge Two Piece" which now stands outside the Houses of Parliament in London.

1963: Awarded the Order of Merit.

1968: Awarded the Erasmus Prize.

1972: Exhibition of 289 exhibits in Florence at Michelangelo's Forte di Belvedere. Beginning of the Henry Moore Trust administered by the Tate Gallery.

1976: Registration of the Henry Moore Foundation.

1981: Major exhibition in newly democratic Spain.

1983: Retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

1986: Major exhibition in Hong Kong.

(1987): Henry Moore exhibition in Japan.

Marriage:

1929 to Irina Radetsky a painting student at the Royal College of Art.

When and Where did he Die?

31st August 1986. Much Hadham, Hertforshire, England.

Age at Death:

88.

Site of Grave:

pArtist'sís Corner of the Crypt, St. Paulís Cathedral, London.


Henry Moore's Grave Plaque,
St Paul's Cathedral

(© Anthony Blagg)

Places of Interest:

CUMBRIA:

Abbot Hall Art Gallerry, Kendal.

HERTFORDSHIRE:

Henry Moore Foundation, Hoglsands, Perry Green.

LANCASHIRE:

Bolton Art Gallery.

LIVERPOOL:

Walker Art Gallery.

LONDON:

Tate Modern.
Grounds opposite the Houses of Parliament.
St. James Park Underground Station, "West Wind" relief in portland stone.
Imperial War Museum.
Kenwood House, Hampstead.

NORFOLK:

Sainsbury's Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, Norwich.

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE:

St. Matthew's Church, Northampton.

SUSSEX:

Pallant House, Chichester.

YORKSHIRE:

University Gallery, Leeds.
City Museum and Art Gallery, Leeds.
Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield.
Art Gallery,Wakefield.

SCOTLAND:

Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.

Further Information:

Mutual Art.com

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Henry Moore by Britain Unlimited
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