Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity

ISBN 978-1-84976-391-2

Anon., ‘Art Exhibition: Mr. Henry Moore’

Times, 26 January 1928, p.10.

In order to do justice to the sculpture and drawings by Mr. Henry Moore at the Warren Gallery, 39A, Maddox-street, it is necessary to remain with them for some little time and to take the side of the materials rather than that of what is called “nature.” There are sculptors who seem to begin with the imitation of nature and then to make certain com-promises in favour of the materials, and there are sculptors who seem to start from the materials and work towards nature with a constant eye upon their line of retreat, and to this class Mr. Moore undoubtedly belongs. He is primarily a carver, working in different kinds of stone, and though none of his work here has an obvious architectural application it is all architectural in conception, observing not only the substance but what may be called the “natural” from of the stone. The enclosing form of most of his figures and compositions is that of an imaginary cube, with, at the extreme limits of the work, the enclosing planes strongly marked. “Figure,” in vert antique marble, “Mother and Child,” in Portland stone, “Torso,” in alabaster, and “Recumbent Male Figure,” in Mansfield stone, are examples. This gives to his work an effect of stability. You might prefer that the forms were carried further towards the imitation of nature, but you cannot deny that they are consistent with themselves and each other and loyal to the substances of which they are made. Indeed, a refusal to be seduced from his loyalty to the capacities of his materials is Mr. Moore’s most striking general characteristic.
His actual sense of form is not yet very highly developed, and the number of his works, some of considerable size, all produced within the last five years, suggests that he does not wait long enough to be sure that a conception is worthwhile before he carries it out. There is nothing hasty or scamped about the workmanship, but the conceptions themselves would gain by longer consideration. At present the works which are enriched by some decorative quality in the materials, such as the “Figure” first named, “Woman, head and shoulders,” also in vert antique marble, “Two Heads,” in serpentine, and “Reclining Woman,” in bronze, make a better impression than those which rely upon pure from, though “Standing Girl” is a finely restrained piece of work, putting the emphasis upon the structural masses rather than upon the seduction of nature. From a compositional point of view one of the best things is “Maternity,” with the child on the shoulders of the woman, in Hornton stone. Mr. Moore’s range in materials is very wide indeed, and in every case the treatment of from seems proper to the material –compare, for instance “Torso,” in dark African wood, with the little “Horse” in bronze – and he has made some interesting experiments in concrete. “Suckling Child,” in that material, has immense vitality. As becomes the more flexible medium Mr. Moore’s drawings approach nearer to nature than his carvings, but they still keep on the “monumental” side. Nos. 47,51,61,62,66,68,70,80,88, and 92 are particularly good.

How to cite

Anon., ‘Art Exhibition: Mr. Henry Moore’, in Times, 26 January 1928, p.10, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/henry-moore/anon-art-exhibition-mr-henry-moore-r1173015, accessed 15 June 2024.