Henry Moore was born in Castleford, Yorkshire, in the north of England, on 30 July 1898, the son of a coal miner. His early artistic development, fostered by his teacher Miss Alice Gostick, was further nurtured by studying sculpture at Leeds College of Art and at the Royal College of Art in London.

During the early 1920s Moore studied the sculpture of other cultures at the British Museum, and Aztec and Egyptian works had a great impact on his imagery. He also began to travel regularly to Paris, meeting artists and furthering his knowledge of European art. His first solo show in London was held at the Warren Gallery in 1928. His carvings in the late 1920s and '30s attracted much press criticism, with charges of ugliness and distortion of the human form. Moore continued in the face of this hostility, with the growing support of the art establishment and friends such as Herbert Read and Kenneth Clark, who was Director of the National Gallery.

Moore's drawings of shelters in the London Underground during World War II brought his work to a larger and more sympathetic public. In 1940 he moved from London to Perry Green in Hertfordshire, one of the 'home' counties surrounding the city, where he lived with his wife Irina, until his death in 1986. His work progressed through the years, exploring themes on the reclining figure and the mother and child, with brief excursions into other areas of enquiry such as animals and natural forms. All of the subjects that concerned him were explored in sculpture - carved in many different stones and wood, or cast in bronze - in drawings and in prints. As his reputation rose, his studio developed into an atelier with several assistants who helped to enlarge his work to a monumental scale.

Moore was the recipient of many awards and honours. He was awarded the first International Prize at the Venice Biennale in 1948, thus beginning a long and close relationship with the British Council. His work has been exhibited worldwide and is represented in major national collections. In 1977 Henry Moore formed the Henry Moore Foundation, a charitable organisation which still administers the allocation of grants, bursaries and scholarships to promote sculpture within the cultural life of Britain today. The Henry Moore Foundation also cares for the artist's former studios and for a large collection of Moore's sculptures, drawings and graphics.


Further reading:
David Sylvester,Henry Moore, Arts Council of Great Britain, London, 1968
David Mitchinson (ed), Celebrating Moore, Lund Humphries Publishers, London, 1998
Dorothy Kosinski (ed), Henry Moore, Sculpting the 20th Century, Dallas Museum of Art/Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2001
Henry Moore Catalogue of Graphic Work, Vol I-IV, Patrick Cramer, AlistairGrant and David Mitchinson, Patrick Cramer, Geneva 1973 - 1986