Sculpture, Self-Portraiture and Artistic Self-Fashioning in Britain 1890-1940

Self-portraiture has been richly explored by artists working in painting and photography, but sculptors’ self-portraits are far less common, and those that exist can be read as often anomalous within the artists’ wider practice.

Focusing on work made in Britain from the late nineteenth-century to the beginning of the Second World War, papers will explore well-known and lesser-known sculptors, highlighting diverse ideas and treatments of artistic selfhood. The theatrical and potentially artificial inherent in the self-portrait, and the ways sculpture represents these characteristics will be addressed. This artistic self-fashioning often manifests itself most prominently through performance, as well as through the artist’s studio as a site of self-staging. Although sculpture and the three-dimensional self-portrait will be at the centre of this event, papers will also consider the role of photography, painting and print culture.

The institutional backdrop for this seminar will be the exhibition, Becoming Henry Moore, which charts the artist’s creative trajectory from 1914 until 1930, with the fascinating emergence of Moore’s own artistic identity in the 1920s offering an immediate visual context. Moore expressed the intention of making a self-portrait but none have ever been identified. This seminar might suggest some reasons why this was never realised, and why sculptural self-portraits more widely are such a scarce genre.

2:00Welcome and Introduction
Dr Jon Wood (Henry Moore Institute)
2:15Richard Cockle Lucas: The Art of Self-Memory
Dr Harry Willis Fleming (independent)
2:50The Healthy and Artistic Dress of Hamo Thornycroft
Dr Robyne Calvert (Glasgow School of Art)
 Chaired by Dr Jon Wood
3:40Wood, Bronze and Honour: Autobiographical Self-Fashioning in William Goscombe John's 1942 Self-Portrait
Melanie Polledri (University of York)
4:15‘Presenting a Face to the World’: Dora Gordine (1895?-1991) and Self-Portraiture
Dr Jonathan Black (Kingston University)
 Chaired by Prof Alison Yarrington (University of Loughborough)
5:00Wrestling with identity: Henri Gaudier-Brzeska’s ‘self-portraits’
Dr Sarah Turner (Paul Mellon Centre)
5:35‘I think I was probably about eleven when I first decided I wanted to be a sculptor.’ Henry Moore and the poetic origins of the artist
Dr Hannah Higham (Henry Moore Foundation)
 Chaired by Dr Jon Wood

Venue details

Venue address

Henry Moore Institute
The Headrow
United Kingdom
T: 0113 246 7467

Opening times

In response to the government's current Covid-19 guidelines, the Henry Moore Institute is temporarily closed until further notice.

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