Henry Moore was born in 1898
in a small coal-mining town in Yorkshire, his
father a miner. In spite of these humble beginnings, Moore
decided to be an artist, and pursued his art education in Leeds and in London. At age 18, Moore enlisted, serving in the First World War, then
continued his studies in London
when he returned from the war.
Early in his career Moore began to carve in
wood as well as stone. The carvings from the 1920s and 1930s demonstrate Moore's distinctive
regard for the human figure. In this period he began to exploit actual spaces
in his sculpture that became integral to as well as characteristic of his
articulation of form. With family groups and figures studies, Moore established the basic themes that would
inspire him for the rest of his life.
By the 1940's, Moore's international
reputation was growing and his work was in high demand. During World War II,
when it was impossible to sculpt, Moore
turned to drawing. He produced a series of drawings, the so-called 'Shelter
Drawings,' that depict Londoners seeking refuge in the subways during the long
nights of bombing.
After the war, Moore's large bronze
castings became more prominent, though his approach remained that of a carver. Moore's post war work is
dominated by images of reclining female figures and the mother and child. Moore's art also resumes
his earliest themes, recumbent and seated women, and semiabstract. Throughout
his career, Moore
created works that combine poetic imagination and strength of form. Remaining
true to his genius for giving clear expression to personal metaphor, Moore has produced much
of the most significant sculpture of our time in a manner that evokes the
archetypal form imagery of humankind's earliest sculpture.
Public recognition continued
to grow throughout the rest of his life, as he received countless commissions
around the world, received many honors, and had numerous exhibitions. Moore is also known for
producing one of the most formidable bodies of graphic work created by any
artist in the history of Western art.