Henry Moore (British Sculptor)
Henry Moore was a celebrated British sculptor.
Moore was born on 30th July 1898 at Yorkshire, England. Henry’s father, despite being a mine manager saw that his children got a decent education. Henry developed an interest in art, music, and literature at a very early age. Noting his talent, Henry’s art teacher helped him get a scholarship to Castleford Secondary school. However, at the insistence of his parents, Henry began teaching at the local elementary school.
It was in 1928 that Henry had his first solo exhibition, which was later followed by a second exhibition in 1931. At this point in time, his work was neither understood nor appreciated and was considered revolutionary by his critics. They even went to the extent of calling it primitive and barbaric.
It was only during 1950’s, his work started being appreciated by both the Americans and the Europeans. In 1929, Henry married a Russian girl who gave birth to a daughter Mary, in 1946. Henry soon moved to the Chelsea School of Art. In 1948, he received the International Sculpture Prize at the Venice Biennale.
Moore turned down a knighthood, but accepted the Companion of Honor and the Order of Merit. Henry died on 31st August 1986, at the age of 88 in his home in Much Hadham, Hertfordshire.
Guide for Collectors
Collectors and potential buyers of Henry Moore’s works should be careful, particularly while buying his smaller size sculptures. The best advice is to crosscheck the information on the piece provided by the seller with the Henry Moore Foundation prior to buying it.
As a tip, Henry Moore’s abstract and semi abstract monumental bronze sculptures reflect a personal and modern style which evolved from his study of the classical, African and pre-Columbian art. His sculptures are mainly abstracts of the human figure and are mostly reclining figures.
Moore's works also contain hollow spaces that are suggestive of the female anatomy. The imperfect surrealistic art form greatly influenced him and some of his works also resemble the Toltec Maya sculptural form. It was his carved marble and large bronze sculptures that made him famous.
A lot of Moore’s works can be found at the Henry Moore Foundation in London, Henry Moore Institute at Leeds and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Most Expensive Works
The most valuable Henry Moore sculpture ever sold is 'Reckining Figure: Festival' which sold for £19,081,250 at Christie's in June 2012.
Henry Moore’s bronze sculpture titled "Draped Reclining Woman" auctioned at Christie's, London on 24th June, 2008 went for a hammer price of £4.297 million.
Another bronze sculpture titled "Three-piece reclining figure" went for a hammer price of $7.5 million at Sotheby's, New York on 4th November, 2004.
"Draped Reclining Mother and Baby", was another expensive bronze sculpture that was auctioned for a premium price of £3.716 million on 5th February, 2008 at Sotheby's, London. This same sculpture was earlier auctioned at Christie's, New York on 4th May, 2005 for a premium price of $5.278 million. In short a hike in price of over $2 million within 3 years.
The "Reclining Figure", is another bronze sculpture that was auctioned at Sotheby's, London on 3rd February, 2010 for £3.625 million. Another large four piece reclining figure sculpture which was auctioned at Sotheby's, London on 19th June, 2006 went for a hammer price of £3 million.
See main article: Top 10 Henry Moore sculptures sold at auction
Most Famous Works
Most of Moore’s large sculptures are located around the world as public works of art. His significant works include:
- “Knife Edge - Two Piece” for the College Green, London around the Houses of parliament
- “A reclining figure” for the Paris UNESCO building
- “A Nuclear energy” sculpture at the University of Chicago
- “Oval with Points” at the Henry Moore Foundation
- “Three Way Piece No.2 (The Archer)” at the Toronto City Hall Nathan Phillips Square
- “Hill Arches (Bronze)” at the National Gallery of Australia
- “Draped Seated Figure” at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In addition to the above, Henry Moore has done plenty of Reclining Figures Sculptures and a few paintings that include Seated Woman, Gourd Women, Seated Mother And Child, Helmet Heads, Reclining Figure (Pea Pod), Three Standing Women in Landscape and Two Women with Children.
Sotheby's, New York auctioned a bronze sculpture titled "Standing Figure" on 2nd November, 2011 for a premium price of $4.786 million. Another sculpture titled "Goslar Warrior" went for a premium price of $3.330 million also at Sotheby's, New York on 2nd November, 2011.
In addition to his sculptures, many of Henry Moore's paintings have attracted considerable attention. A pencil crayon sketch named the Seated family group was auctioned for a premium price of £106,850 on 27th May, 2010.
Another, a watercolour and charcoal sketch titled Two draped figures, was auctioned for a premium price of £180,500 on 5th February, 2008. The third, also a mixture of watercolor and charcoal sketch and titled Three figures sleeping, went for a premium price of £529,250 on 3rd February 2010. All the three were auctioned at Christie’s, London.