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Becoming Henry Moore

14 Apr 2017 – 18 Feb 2018

Release date: Thursday, 9 March 2017

    Major exhibition opens at Easter at Henry Moore Studios & Gardens and travels to the Henry Moore Institute in November 2017.

    Planned to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of the Henry Moore Foundation the exhibition Becoming Henry Moore charts the artist’s creative trajectory between 1914 and 1930, from gifted schoolboy to established sculptor. The exhibition – presented at both the Foundation’s venues – will give an insight into the influences at play in the mind of Britain’s foremost modern sculptor during his formative years. It will show his work in dialogue with a range of other artists including Brancusi, Picasso and Rodin.

    Focused on the ambition of becoming a sculptor, Moore spent his early years studying the art of the past and of his contemporaries, and re-elaborating ideas and idioms on the journey to producing his own individual style. His talent was spotted at a young age at school in his West Yorkshire home town of Castleford by a progressive headmaster, ‘Toddy’ Dawes, and an encouraging art teacher, Alice Gostick. Miss Gostick and Moore struck up an enduring friendship, and his earliest experiences of contemporary art were digested from publications at her house. After World War I Moore received an ex-serviceman’s grant to attend Leeds School of Art, and later a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art in London.

    During this period, through numerous friendships and mentors, a wealth of art in public and private collections was opened up to him. It was in Leeds, for example, that through publications such as Roger Fry’s Vision and Design, Moore first encountered non-Western art, which proved to be a lifelong fascination and artistic influence. He first explored contemporary art during visits to the collections of Michael Sadler, the Vice Chancellor of Leeds University, and Charles Rutherston, the brother of Sir William Rothenstein, Principal of the Royal College of Art. At the Royal College Moore abided by the curriculum, which focused on copying classical Western art, but spent much of his spare time exploring the ethnographic collections of the British Museum and the displays in the South Kensington museums. Thanks to a travelling scholarship in 1925, he had his first direct encounter with early Italian wall painting and sculpture, which again played an important part in his artistic development. These influences were not only critical for the development of Moore’s early style, but they continued to inform his work for the rest of his career.

    Beginning with a section devoted to formal experiments during his student days in Yorkshire and London, the core of Becoming Henry Moore will be the presentation of Moore’s work from the 1920s, shown in dialogue with artists who inspired him or worked alongside him. These include British contemporaries such as Frank Dobson (1886-1963), Jacob Epstein (1880-1959), Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) and Leon Underwood (1890-1975); the European avant-gardes, for example Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964), Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957), Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891-1915) and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973); earlier artists such as Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) and Michelangelo (1475-1564); examples of African, Aztec and Cycladic art from the British Museum; and publications which Moore studied as a student and young artist.

    Visitor information:

    Henry Moore Studios & Gardens

    Dane Tree House, Perry Green, Herts SG10 6EE
    T: +44 (0)1279 843 333
    Opening times: Friday 14 April to Sunday 22 October 2017
    Wednesday to Sunday & Bank Holidays, 11am - 5pm

    Henry Moore Institute

    74 The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AH
    T: +44 (0)113 246 7467
    Opening times: Open 7 days a week, except Bank Holidays, from 11am to 5.30pm and until 8pm on Wednesdays. Galleries are closed on Mondays.


    For further press information and images please contact Rebecca Land, Head of Communications: / 07834751649. Please scroll in the image gallery to view more press images.