Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity

ISBN 978-1-84976-391-2

Henry Moore in the Gemma Levine Archive

Ann Harezlak

Gemma Levine and Henry Moore looking at contact sheets in the Gildmore Graphic Studio at Perry Green c.1980
Tate Archive
Photo: David Mitchinson
The Gemma Levine Archive, housed in the Tate Archive, comprises photographs, audio recordings, ephemera and various volumes. A leading portrait photographer, Levine (born 1939) produced twenty publications and her work featured in over sixty exhibitions. Her photographs were sometimes shown alongside Moore’s sculptures. The mentorship she received from Henry Moore, whom she visited at his home Hoglands in the village of Perry Green, Hertfordshire, from 1976 to his death in 1986, played a key role in developing her professional practice, and her archive is rich in materials relating to this period in her life. These include unpublished photographs and contact sheets of photo shoots.
Levine worked with Moore to produce three photographic books about his life and work: With Henry Moore: The Artist at Work (1978), Henry Moore: Wood Sculpture (1983) and Henry Moore: An Illustrated Biography (1985). Together these volumes offered fresh and sometimes seemingly intimate insights into the life and practice of the artist in the last decade of his life.

Mentorship and collaboration

‘I think everyone in life has a mentor, and he was mine.’
Gemma Levine speaking about Henry Moore at Tate Britain 2012
Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore with his camera photographing trees in the Dane Tree House orchard, 10 January 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate
When Levine visited Moore at his home, they would occasionally walk together around the grounds, taking photographs of the sculptures in the gardens. Camera in hand, Moore would discuss shape, highlights and shadows in the things they were seeing. Levine consciously sought to adopt Moore’s artistic perspective and emulate his approach in her photographs.
Each of the three photo books she made was developed collaboratively with Moore. She showed him her contact sheets and recorded his responses to the images on them. The choice of images for the books was recorded on the sheets themselves, including mark-ups for crops and other alterations. The texts for the publications were developed from edited versions of their recorded discussions.
As well as opening his studio to Levine and many other photographers, Moore also extended his mentorship to studio assistants. During his career, over forty people – mainly young sculptors who were still in college or who had just finished their studies – worked for Moore. These assistants undertook a range of tasks and were taught carving techniques and methods of scaling up. They learnt about Moore’s approach to size and scale, and often contributed to his artistic ideas.
Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Studio assistants Malcolm Woodward and Michel Muller with Henry Moore working on Reclining Figure: Holes 1976–8 in the Yellow Brick Studio, 26 January 1978
© Gemma Levine/Tate
Photo: Tate Archive

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore arranging elements of Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae 1968–9 at Hoglands 6 April 1978, published in With Henry Moore: The Artist at Work (1978).
Tate Archive TGA 201012 (LN47, 15)
© Gemma Levine/Tate; © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

Gemma Levine with Henry Moore's Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae 1968–9 at Hoglands c.1978
Tate Archive TGA 201012 (LN55B, 6A)
© Gemma Levine/Tate; © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved
Photo: David Mitchinson

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Photograph showing Gemma Levine's photographs on display alongside Moore's Working Model of Hill Arches 1972, c.1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Henry Moore and Gemma Levine looking at contact sheets of Bird Basket 1939 in the Gildmore Graphic Studio, c.1980
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine 'Henry Moore and Malcolm Woodward looking at 'Maquette for Mother and Child: Block Seat' 1983 in the Bourne Maquette Studio'
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore and Malcolm Woodward looking at Maquette for Mother and Child: Block Seat 1983 in the Bourne Maquette Studio
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore and Malcolm Woodward looking at Working Model for Mother and Child: Block Seat 1983 in the Bourne Maquette Studio
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Portraits of the artist

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore with his camera in the Dane Tree House Orchard at Perry Green, 16 January 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate
Levine’s career as a portrait photographer started with her images of Moore at his home, Hoglands, in the village of Perry Green. Included in her archive is a contact sheet from her first photographic session with Moore in July 1976. She recalled, ‘I went down with a tiny instamatic camera and took these very old fashioned photographs.’1 During visits made in January 1978 Levine photographed Moore using a camera, capturing images of trees that later informed a series of drawings and etchings.
While many photographs of Moore at work were staged, Levine was an unobtrusive presence and was able to capture Moore in the midst of his work. Self-consciously adopting Moore’s interest in the details of light and shade in nature and in sculpture, Levine highlighted these same aspects in her images of the artist’s face and hands.
Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine Photograph of Henry Moore's hands taken in the Gildmore Graphic Studio during Levine's first meeting with Moore, July 1976
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Photograph of Henry Moore taken in the Gildmore Graphic Studio during Levine's first meeting with Moore, July 1976
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore in the Etching Studio, 15 December 1977
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore using a camera in the Hoglands's estate c.1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore studying a small plaster head in the Bourne Maquette Studio, 2 February 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore and the plaster maquette for Reclining Figure: Holes 1976–8 in the Yellow Brick Studio, c.1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore working on a copper plate with an etching needle in the Gildmore Graphic Studio c.1982
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Vision and touch

‘I could read the character of Moore from his hands; the sculpture and his hands were almost one.’
Gemma Levine, Interviewed by Ann Harezlak at Levine’s home in London, November 2013
Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore studying found objects in the Bourne Maquette Studio, 2 February 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate
The Gemma Levine Archive contains a significant number of photographs that concentrate on Moore’s face and hands. These images show Henry Moore studying and contemplating found objects and maquettes, and also caressing finished works. Levine aimed to capture aspects of his approach to form and space through focusing on the relationship between his gaze and hands. In a discussion in 1978 about her book With Henry Moore: The Artist at Work Levine asked Moore to explain the various tools she had photographed and he replied, ‘tools are only an extension of your arms and hands’.2
Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore studying found objects in the Bourne Maquette Studio, 2 February 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
26 January 1978 Henry Moore at work in the Gildmore Graphic Studio
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore at work in the Gildmore Graphic Studio, 26 January 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore at work in the Gildmore Graphic Studio, 26 January 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine Henry Moore caressing Reclining Figure: Curved 1977 in the Yellow Brick Studio, 26 January 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's hands holding found objects in the Bourne Maquette Studio, 2 February 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's hands holding found objects in the Bourne Maquette Studio, 2 February 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore with Reclining Figure: Holes 1976–8 in the Yellow Brick Studio, 5 May 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine Henry Moore's hands holding a plaster maquette of Reclining Figure: Angles 1979 in the Bourne Maquette Studio c.1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore with Hill Arches 1973 at Hoglands c.1978
© Gemma Levine/Tate
Photo: Tate Archives

Artistic process

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore examining the trunk of a diseased elm at Hoglands, 8 December 1977
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate
Photographs of Moore’s work in various states of realisation can be found throughout Gemma Levine’s Archive. In 1976 she was present when Moore came across a large trunk of diseased elmwood near the Sheep Barn at Perry Green. Levine recalled, ‘I then put forward the idea of a stage by stage progression of the piece of wood ... through a series of photographs taken periodically, to show the public how a great sculptor works’.3 Levine recorded each stage of the realisation of Reclining Figure: Holes 1976–8, from Moore standing next to the tree trunk, through its carving by Moore, Malcolm Woodward and Michel Muller, to the sculpture’s installment in the Wildenstein Gallery, New York. Other photographs show the stages of scaling up the full-size plaster of Mirror Knife Edge 1977, making it ready for bronze casting at the Morris Singer bronze foundry in Basingstoke.
Levine also photographed Moore’s tools and implements of production. Photographs of Moore at work in his etching studio and those taken at the Curwen Press in London show the progression of a number of graphic works, including The Reclining Figure Portfolio 1978, Reclining Figure and Mother and Child Studies 1977 and Reclining Figure Interior Setting II 1977.
Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore working on Reclining Figure: Holes 1976–8 in the Yellow Brick Studio, 26 January 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Close-up photograph of Reclining Figure: Holes 1976–8 in the Yellow Brick Studio, 26 January 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Michel Muller working on Reclining Figure: Holes 1976–8 in the Yellow Brick Studio, 2 March 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Michel Muller and Henry Moore moving Reclining Figure: Holes 1976–8 so that it could be worked on underneath, 15 March 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's Reclining Figure: Holes 1976–8 at an intermediate stage and its plaster maquette, 12 April 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's Reclining Figure: Holes 1976–8 at the Wildenstein Gallery, New York, November 1979
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore looking at half the Working Model for Mirror Knife Edge 1976 in plaster in front of half the full scale, polystyrene version, 1977
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore at the Morris Singer bronze foundry in Basingstoke, with the bronze cast of half of Mirror Knife Edge 1977, being prepared for the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, March 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore working on a prepared copper plate for The Reclining Figure Portfolio 1978 in the Etching Studio, December 1977
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
A printer at the Curwen Press, London, preparing a colour state of Henry Moore's lithograph Reclining Figure Interior Setting II 1977, 19 April 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

5. Photographing sculpture

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Detail of Henry Moore's Oval with Points 1968–70 at Hoglands, 19 April 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate
Moore’s approach to photography – to observe what is found and capture the experience for others to contemplate – resonates throughout Levine’s Archive. Ranging from initial photographs that recorded sculpture for possible commercial promotion to more composed images that explored multiple details of Moore’s completed works, Levine developed her technique and photographic practice under Moore’s mentorship in ways that reflected his view of how to examine sculpture (‘It is the three-dimensional reality and shape which one wants to understand, to grasp and to experience.’)4
Moore believed that sculpture should be photographed from multiple angles, not only to create comprehensive records but also to mimic the experience of viewing works. He also stressed the importance of natural light in his sculptural and photographic practice and disregarded flash photography because of it flattened forms. Moore and Levine’s collaborative publications reveal a mix of documentary approaches as well as more individual or subjective shots. Levine’s photographs of works such as Bird Basket 1939 in lignum vitae and string, and Oval with Points 1968–70 in bronze showed her interest in capturing specific details. Her 1978 photographs of Large Two Forms 1969 as installed in Kensington Gardens explored a sculpture in relation to its site.
Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's bronze Oval with Points 1968–70 at Hoglands, 2 March 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine Henry Moore's Reclining Figure: Curved 1977 in black marble in the Dane Tree House Gallery, 6 April 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's Reclining Figure: Single Leg 1976 in black granite in the Dane Tree House Gallery, 6 April 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's Large Two Forms 1969 in Kensington Gardens, London, June 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's Large Two Forms 1969 in Kensington Gardens, London, June 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's Large Two Forms 1969 in Kensington Gardens, London, June 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's Oval with Points 1968–70 at Hoglands c.1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's Reclining Figure 1959–64, January 1980
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's Figure 1931 at the Tate Gallery, London, April 1980
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's Bird Basket 1939, c.1980
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's Bird Basket 1939, c.1980
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Moore in private

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore with a cup of tea in the main sitting room at Hoglands, 15 December 1977
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate
From spring 1976 Gemma Levine became a regular visitor to Moore’s home, Hoglands, in the village of Perry Green. While exploring the Hoglands estate and coming to know Moore’s daily routine, Levine sought to remain in the background and not disturb the artist’s life. In photographing his home she aimed to create a context for Moore’s artistic vision through the objects and artworks that surrounded him. Moore’s home environment is presented as welcoming but also a curated space for exhibiting artworks and artefacts.
Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
The main sitting room at Hoglands, 15 December 1977
© Gemma Levine/Tate
Photo: Tate Archives

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Basket of objects in Henry Moore's main sitting room at Hoglands, 15 December 1977
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine 'Artworks in the main sitting room at Hoglands c.1977'
Gemma Levine
Artworks in the main sitting room at Hoglands c.1977
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's art materials, tools and drawings in the Gildmore Graphic Studio, c.1977–8
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's tools for creating plaster maquettes in the Bourne Maquette Studio c.1977–8
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's Dane Tree House orchard in winter, 10 January 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's Bourne Maquette Studio c.1983
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine Henry Moore's The Arch 1963–9 in white fiberglass and, in the distance, Large Reclining Figure 1984 in bronze on the Hoglands's estate c.1984
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine 'Henry Moore's 'Draped Reclining Figure' 1952–3 in cast concrete, and sheep in the field at the Hoglands's estate c.1984'
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore's Draped Reclining Figure 1952–3 in cast concrete, and sheep in the field at the Hoglands's estate c.1984
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Moore in public

Gemma Levine 'Gemma Levine Reporters gathered around Henry and Irina Moore at the unveiling of 'The Arch' 1963–9 in Kensington Gardens, 1980'
Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine Reporters gathered around Henry and Irina Moore at the unveiling of The Arch 1963–9 in Kensington Gardens, 1980
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate
Working with Henry Moore from 1976 to 1986, Levine witnessed several important events in the artist’s last years. Photographs in the Gemma Levine Archive show radio and TV interviews, including those filmed by John Read for the BBC, the private view of Moore’s eightieth birthday exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery on 29 June 1978, the unveiling of The Arch 1979–80 at Kensington Park in 1980, and the opening of the Moore Sculpture Gallery at Leeds City Art Gallery by Queen Elizabeth II on 26 November 1982. For her third collaborative publication with Moore, Henry Moore: An Illustrated Biography (1985) Levine revisited and documented locations of historical importance to Henry Moore including Adel Rock, Castleford, the coalfields of Wheldale Colliery and his previous studio locations in London.
Gemma Levine 'Henry Moore in the Gildmore Graphic Studio during the making of a film on his drawings by John Read for the BBC, 8 March 1978'
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore in the Gildmore Graphic Studio during the making of a film on his drawings by John Read for the BBC, 8 March 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
David Sylvester (centre) and Henry Moore at Moore's eightieth birthday exhibition held in the Serpentine Gallery, London, 29 June 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine 'Installation view of Henry Moore's eightieth birthday exhibition, 9 October 1978'
Gemma Levine
Installation view of Henry Moore's eightieth birthday exhibition, 9 October 1978
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore interviewed at West Dean College, West Sussex, with several of his works in the background Reclining Figure: Wing 1978, and tapestries from left to right: Two Seated Women and a Child 1977, Three Reclining Women with one Child 1978, Three Women in a Landscape 1979 and Three Seated Women with one Child 1978, c.1979–80
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine 'Henry Moore meeting Queen Elizabeth II at the opening of the Moore Sculpture Gallery at Leeds City Art Gallery, 26 November 1982'
Gemma Levine
Henry Moore meeting Queen Elizabeth II at the opening of the Moore Sculpture Gallery at Leeds City Art Gallery, 26 November 1982
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine 'Installation view of Henry Moore's work on display at the re-opening of Leeds City Art Gallery, November 1982'
Gemma Levine
Installation view of Henry Moore's work on display at the re-opening of Leeds City Art Gallery, November 1982
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine 'Yorkshire landscape, Adel Rock c.1982'
Gemma Levine
Yorkshire landscape, Adel Rock c.1982
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

Gemma Levine 'Wheldale Colliery, the place where Moore's father worked and where Moore observed miners at the coalface for a series of wartime drawings commissioned by the War Artists Advisory Committee c.1983–5'
Gemma Levine
Wheldale Colliery, the place where Moore's father worked and where Moore observed miners at the coalface for a series of wartime drawings commissioned by the War Artists Advisory Committee c.1983–5
Tate Archive
© Gemma Levine/Tate

1
Gemma Levine, Interviewed by Ann Harezlak at Tate Britain, 24 August 2011, Tate Archive TGA 201012
2
Henry Moore, photographed by Gemma Levine, With Henry Moore: the artist at work, Great Britain 1978, p.113
3
Gemma Levine, Interviewed by Ann Harezlak at Tate Britain, 24 August 2011, Tate Archive TGA 201012.
4
Henry Moore, photographed by Gemma Levine, With Henry Moore: the artist at work, Great Britain 1978, p.45.

How to cite

Ann Harezlak, ‘Henry Moore in the Gemma Levine Archive
’, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/henry-moore/ann-harezlak-henry-moore-in-the-gemma-levine-archivebr--r1171901, accessed 19 October 2019.