We are delighted that Grayson Perry CBE RA has been awarded the 2020 Erasmus Prize. 

Grayson Perry is the first British visual artist to win the prize since Henry Moore in 1968. 

Moore was delighted to receive notification that he had been awarded the prize in December 1967 in a letter from the Stichting Praemium Erasmianum. Moore travelled to the Dutch city of Arnhem to receive the award from Prince Bernhard on 3 May the following year, accompanied by his daughter Mary and his good friend Sir Kenneth Clark. Queen Juliana and Princess Beatrix (who later succeeded as Queen of the Netherlands) were also present at the ceremony. 

When interviewed about what he was going to do with the £11,500 prize money, Moore talked about his wish to help other artists and stated: 

“I no longer need to worry about money, and that is good. That an artist must starve to produce good work is a romantic and unjust idea ”

De Waarheid

4 May 1968

In this spirit Moore donated just under half of his Erasmus prize money to the charity SPACE, founded by the artists Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley. The £6000 that Moore donated (now worth over £100,000 today) was used to develop St Katherine’s Dock in London as artist studio space.

SPACE celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018 and continues to support artist studio space today. Moore formalised his philanthropic efforts by setting up the Henry Moore Foundation in 1977. The Foundation continues to award grants to support the growth and development of sculpture. 

Watch Henry Moore receive the award here: