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Becoming Henry Moore

14 April – 22 October 2017

Release date: Thursday, 10 November 2016

Rebecca Land

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.

Venue details

Venue address

Henry Moore Studios & Gardens
Dane Tree House
Perry Green
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

Comments (2)

Francesca Borruso

14 February 2017 18:27

Rome 14 February 2017 Thank you Alison, I've send now a mail to, the mail is a letter addressed to Mary Moore, because I studied also her interviewes and Ideas for Sculpture. Best regards, Francesca

Francesca Romana Borruso

7 February 2017 21:46

I'm studying about Henry Moore writings and and drawings about Primitive Art, and I found some incorrect subtitles in David Mitchinson "Henry Moore Unpublished Drawings" . I woud like to show you my studies about it.

Alison Parry

Alison Parry | Marketing & Digital Officer, Henry Moore Studios & Gardens

8 February 2017 09:39

Thank you Francesca. I'm sure our Collections and Research department would be interested to hear your findings. Could you fill in an enquiry form on our Collections page? The message will then get through to the right department and they can get in contact with you. Best regards, Alison

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