Tate Britain houses two permanent galleries dedicated to the work of Henry Moore
The displays include over 30 works dedicated to film, photographs, maquettes, drawings and large-scale sculptures such as Recumbent Figure 1938, the first to enter Tate’s collection in 1939.
The first room reveals the history of Henry Moore’s relationship with Tate and how the collection of his work was formed. Moore built a close relationship with the Gallery: he served as a Trustee for two terms from 1941–56, and two large-scale retrospective exhibitions of his work were held in 1951 and 1968. The most recent show in 2010 at Tate Britain re-affirmed Moore’s status as one of the leading artists of the twentieth century.
Henry Moore’s friends and supporters were pivotal in shaping Tate’s collection of Moore’s work. Moore also donated sets of prints to the gallery in 1976 and his most significant act of generosity was the presentation of 36 sculptures in 1978. Today the Tate collection owns over 600 works ranging in date from 1921 to 1984, and including drawings, prints, and sculptures in wood, stone and metal.
The second room looks at a selection of Moore’s large public commissions and gives a fascinating insight into the process he used to make them. In the 1950s and 1960s, Moore worked almost exclusively in plaster to be cast in bronze and around themes of the body, landscape and nature. He saw the countryside as the best setting for his sculptures and became known for his large-scale works that were made for locations as diverse as new housing estates in London, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and Dallas City Hall. The major works in this new display, including Reclining Figure 1951, and Draped Seated Figure 1957–8, are exhibited alongside drawings and maquettes, as well as film and photographs of the artist at work in his studio.