Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity

ISBN 978-1-84976-391-2

Anon., ‘Modern School of Sculpture: Cult of Ugliness Triumphant’

Morning Post, 11 April 1931.

MODERN SCHOOL OF SCULPTURE
CULT OF UGLINESS TRIUMPHANT
MR. HENRY MOORE’S WORK
WANING INFLUENCE OF THE ELGIN MARBLES
BY Our Art Critic
Those in favour of returning the Elgin Marbles to Greece could not find a better argument for their exodus than the sculpture at the Leicester Galleries, Leicester-square, by Mr. Henry Moore, who is one of the Professors at the Royal College of Art.
Mr. Courtenay Pollock and those who think with him could postulate that if works such as those at the Leicester Galleries can be produced by one who is responsible for the training of teachers in the chief national art school in England, then the Elgin Marbles have lost all their meaning as fragments of the greatest achievements in plastic art.
The cult of ugliness triumphs at the hands of Mr. Moore. He shows an utter contempt for the natural beauty of women and children, and in doing so, deprives even stone of its value as a means of aesthetic and emotional expression.
Examples such as the “Suckling Child” (1), the “Reclining Woman” (15), and Nos. 17, 23, and 29 make one doubt his seriousness. At any rate, the figures referred to represent in this age of abundant disorder and intellectual self-starvation, the renunciation of the ideas, the forms, and the “austere logic of ancient sculpture” on which the permanent shape and spiritual significance of art are based.
MR. EPSTEIN’S COMMENT
There is no need to go back to negroid art for inspiration. There is still nobility of mind and grace of body to quicken the receptive and creative powers of men in art and literature. Aesthetic detachment is bound to atrophy soul and vision and lead to revolting formlessness such as offends sensitive people.
In fairness to Mr. Moore, read what Mr. Epstein writes in the catalogue introduction.
“Before these works,” he writes, “I ponder in silence.” Their “vast disproportions throw the shadow of our fears upon the background of space,” and he feels “secret forces ready to burst forth on earth . . . to startle the unthinking out of their complacency. For the future of sculpture in England Henry Moore is vitally important.”

How to cite

Anon., ‘Modern School of Sculpture: Cult of Ugliness Triumphant’, in Morning Post, 11 April 1931, in Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate Research Publication, 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/henry-moore/anon-modern-school-of-sculpture-cult-of-ugliness-triumphant-r1173018, accessed 24 April 2019.