* 1898 Castleford
† 1986 Much Hadham
The leading British sculptor Henry Moore is internationally famed for his powerful, monumental sculptures which are as much influenced by Archipenko and Brancusi as by the Egyptian and ancient American cultures and the art of the 'primitive' tribes. His preferred subjects were human figures made in wood, stone, bronze, cement and terracotta in a realistic or abstract manner.
Even though Moore was encouraged by an art teacher at school to pursue his artistic talents and he himself would have liked to become an artist, his father insisted that he become a teacher. Moore attended a teaching seminar in 1915 and was employed at the Temple Street School in Castleford. His teaching was interrupted by two years of military service in France. He resumed teaching briefly in 1919 before going to study at the Leeds School of Art. He was still the only sculpture pupil and the school arranged a sculpture course specially for him. When Moore was awarded a scholarship to attend the Royal College of Art in 1921 he moved to London where he studied Mexican sculptures and the art of the 'primitive tribes' at the British Museum. During the first half of the 1930s Moore experimented first with Surrealist and then with geometric-abstract ideas. His medium was a hollowed-out and perforated stone. The sculptor left the Royal College in 1932 to teach at the Chelsea School of Art for the following seven years. After the destruction of his London studio in 1940 Moore bought a house in Hertfordshire and began concentrating on the so-called 'Shelter' - drawings that made him the official 'War-Artist' - and his own work. One year later he was elected a member of the curatorial board of the Tate Gallery. The Museum of Modern Art held the first large retrospective exhibition as early as 1946. Moore was awarded numerous commissions for art in public spaces as well as several awards, including the International Sculpture Prize at the Biennale in Venice in 1948. Furthermore, the artist received honorary doctorates from most famous universities, such as Oxford, Cambridge and Yale. He was appointed a member of the Wiener Sezession in 1969. During the 1970s he travelled to Canada and Italy, in 1974 he opened the Henry Moore Sculpture Center in Ohio. Moore's style, combining figures and abstract forms, strongly influenced European sculpture in the years immediately after the Second World War. His main works include the large lying figures for the Unesco building in Paris and the Lincoln Art Center in New York.