Influential British sculptor Henry Moore is recognised for his semi-abstract wooden or marble carvings and cast bronze sculptures based on reclining human figures.Read More
Within variously evolving and overlapping styles, Moore also created volumetric crayon and ink wash drawings and tapestries.
In 1924 Moore got a six month travelling fellowship to Northern Italy Paris.
At Paris' Trocadero Museum, he encountered a plaster cast of a reclining stone Chac Mool figure, a pre-Columbian Mayan sculpture that astounded him, and which he had seen two years earlier reproduced in a book on Mexican Art. From it he developed a formally rectangular, blockish structure in which a carved figure was positioned, such as Reclining Figure (1929) or Reclining Woman(1930).
In the late thirties these became more abstract, elongated with holes, such as the elmwood Reclining Figure (1939).
The human form reclining or seated figures (or standing mother and child) were a dominant theme in his sculptures and distinctive drawings using crayon, chalk, watercolour and gouache. A good example is _Draped Seated Woman _(1956-7), a bronze sculpture.
Moore's sinuous abstract sculptures were influenced by the works of earlier and contemporary artists, among them Picasso, Jean Arp, Joan Miró, and Constantin Brancusi.
Also significant were elements of nature, particularly the austere rotund hillforms of his native Yorkshire. Often the body parts were disconnected and separated to accentuate the geological as curvilinear abstraction. Examples include Composition (1931) and Two Large Forms (1969).
In the mid seventies Moore executed a small series of ink and watercolour figure drawings intended to be made into tapestries by five master weavers at Tapestry Studio, West Dean College. Moore was so fascinated by the results and the process of 'translation' where the weavers themselves picked the colours, dyes, types of wool and quality of greatly enlarged lines and stains, that he did seven more. Several were purchased by the Victoria and Albert Museum, and later sent to Christchurch Art Gallery for an exhibition in 1981. In 2021, art gallery Hauser & Wirth presented tapestries from the late seventies in Hong Kong.