Henry Moore1898 - 1986
Born: July 1898, Catleford, Yorkshire, England
Unlike many artists, Henry Moore did not grow up with the goal of pursuing art as a career. Born in Yorkshire, England, in 1898, he was the seventh child of a mine manager. His parents were supportive of their son's decision to become a teacher, and Moore began student teaching in 1915. By 1916, he was teaching at the same elementary school he had attended. Only a short time after he'd begun teaching, however, Moore decided to join the army and fight in World War I with the Civil Service Rifles. By 1919, he was back home teaching elementary school again.
Moore's life as an artist began when he decided to enroll at Leeds School of Art on an ex-serviceman's grant. He was quickly recognized for his talent and won a scholarship to London's Royal College of Art in 1921. While studying in London, Moore regularly visited museums, where he developed a particular fascination with pre-Columbian sculpture. He traveled throughout Europe during his school years as well and became a part-time Assistant in the Royal College of Art's Sculpture Department. During this period, Moore was most interested in direct carving, as opposed to modeling, and he dedicated his life to art. By 1926 Moore held his first one-man show, selling many of his sculptures. One of his buyers, Jacob Epstein, recommended Moore for a commission to design a sculpture for the new headquarters of the London Underground, and Moore was chosen for this job.
In his personal life, Moore married Irma Radetzsky in 1929, and the couple moved into a cottage in Kent in 1931 where the artist could also have his studio. He was still teaching at the Royal Academy at this point but was not asked to return to his position following his second solo exhibition in 1931. His work was considered controversial and had generated some negative press. This setback had little effect on Moore, however, as he accepted a new teaching job at Chelsea School of Art. The mid-1930s saw Moore gain greater interest in Surrealism, though he didn't necessarily wish to associate himself with any one artistic movement. The result of his interest was his inclusion in the International Exhibition of Surrealist Art in London in 1936. His work also traveled "across the pond" to the Museum of Modern Art in New York during the same year.
War again marched into Moore's life in 1939, and he chronicled images of the Blitz in London, sketching people sheltered in the London Underground to escape the air raids. The War Artists Advisory Committee became interested in Moore's depictions, and he spent the remainder of the War years working for that organization in Hertfordshire and Yorkshire mostly drawing the miners he had grown up around. 1946 provided Moore with a successful retrospective back at the Museum of Modern Art, and he also won a major prize for sculpture at the first post-War Biennale in Venice.
The next year, Moore began to explore modeling in his sculpture, building an experimental foundry on his property. Modeling is a less time consuming process, and it was also necessary for the completion of several monumental public commissions, such as the Reclining Figure for New York City's Lincoln Center; he was also known for keeping a large studio with many assistants to help him accomplish the commissions. In the last years of his artistic career, prior to his death in 1986, Moore spent much of his time creating pictorial drawings.