Henry Moore Reclining Figure 1929
Henry Moore
Reclining Figure 1929

Introduction

Henry Moore (1898–1986) is one of the great artists of the twentieth century. He emerged in the 1920s as a radical, experimental and avant-garde figure and was rapidly established as the leading British sculptor of his generation. His principal and enduring subject was the human body, through which he believed ‘one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way’. This exhibition focuses on Moore’s career from the 1920s to the early 1960s and challenges the familiar image of the artist. His sculptures and drawings from this period are often imbued with dark, erotic overtones and morbid anxiety and so present a more complex figure and a different view of his modernity. Moore’s art engages with key artistic, intellectual and political issues of his time: the trauma of war – seen in his response to both World Wars, as well as the 1930s descent into war and later Cold War anxieties – together with new ideas of sexuality and the body, and the influence of non-western art, psychoanalysis and Surrealism. Moore’s pursuit of artistic freedom and formal innovation, as shown in this exhibition, reasserts his position at the forefront of progressive twentieth-century sculpture.