Henry Moore

Henry Moore was born in 1898 in Castleford, England. He decided at the age of eleven that he would become a sculptor, but his parents insisted he train to be a teacher. He started teaching in 1916. As soon as he turned eighteen in 1917 he was called up to serve in the First World War. After the war he received a grant to study sculpture at Leeds School of Art. In 1921 he moved to London to continue his studies at the Royal College of Art in London. During his visits to the British Museum he familiarised himself with pre-Columbian, Egyptian and African sculpture.

In 1924 he spent six months in Italy. Upon his return he became a lecturer in sculpture at the Royal College of Art. His career as a sculptor began in earnest in 1928, and in 1929 he made his first reclining figure, which contains many of the formal and compositional properties that were determine his entire oeuvre. In the years that followed he experimented with various materials, exploring the relationship between open and closed forms and curved masses.

Moore’s oeuvre, largely indirectly inspired by the female body is dominated by several main themes: the reclining female figure, mother and child, and the family. His sculptures, either modelled or carved, appear to have grown organically or have been created by natural forces rather than be the product of human labour.

From 1932 to 1939 Moore taught sculpture at the Chelsea School of Art. He became an official war artist during the Second World War, making numerous drawings of people sheltering in London’s Underground. He achieved international recognition after the war, partly as a result of a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1948 Moore won the International Sculpture Prize at the Venice Biennale. He died in 1986 at the age of 88. He was buried in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.