The exhibition ‘Becoming Henry Moore’ will open at the Henry Moore Institute, on 30th November as part of the Henry Moore Foundation’s 40th anniversary year. The exhibition charts the artist’s career from gifted schoolboy in his hometown of Castleford, Yorkshire, to one of the world’s most celebrated sculptors, and will bring home to the region Moore’s most important early works.
Becoming Henry Moore gives an insight into the artist’s creative development from 1914 to 1930. The exhibition explores the legacy of his student days in Yorkshire, and the generous support he received during his early ambition to be a sculptor – both from his art teacher and headmaster at his school in Castleford, and from influential friends and mentors whom he met at Leeds School of Art.
A highlight of the exhibition is Henry Moore’s first ever commission, which will be displayed in Yorkshire for the first time. The work is an oak First World War roll of honour listing ninety-one former pupils serving in the First World War, including Moore and his friends, which he made for his school in Castleford in 1916.
The exhibition will present Moore’s work in dialogue with artists who inspired him or worked alongside him. It will also include work by British contemporaries, such as Frank Dobson, Jacob Epstein, Barbara Hepworth and Leon Underwood; the European avant-gardes like Alexander Archipenko, Constantin Brancusi and Pablo Picasso; earlier artists such as Auguste Rodin and Michelangelo; examples of African, Aztec and Cycladic art from the British Museum; and publications that Moore read as a student and young artist.
After the First World War, Moore received an ex-serviceman’s grant to attend Leeds School of Art (1919-21), and later a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art in London (1921-24). During this period, through numerous friendships and mentors, a wealth of art in public and private collections was opened up to Moore. It was in Leeds that he first encountered non-Western art, which proved to be a lifelong fascination and influence. He first saw works by contemporary artists during visits to the collections of Michael Sadler, the Vice Chancellor of Leeds University, and Charles Rutherston, the brother of Sir William Rothenstein, Principal of the Royal College of Art. At the Royal College, Moore followed the curriculum, which focused on copying classical Western art, but spent much of his spare time exploring the ethnographic collections of the British Museum and the displays in the South Kensington museums. Thanks to a travelling scholarship in 1925, Moore had his first direct encounter with early Italian wall painting and sculpture, which again played an important part in his artistic development.
These early influences and the opportunities Moore received in Yorkshire, and subsequently in London, were not only critical for the development of Moore’s early style, but they continued to inform his work for the rest of his career.
Becoming Henry Moore
Henry Moore Institute, 74 The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AH
30 November 2017 – 18 February 2018
Galleries are closed on Mondays.
Open 7 days a week, except Bank Holidays, from 11am to 5.30pm and until 8pm on Wednesdays.
T: +44 (0)113 246 7467