Monday, March 15, 2010

Henry Moore at Tate Britain

Henry Moore - Tate Britain 24 February – 8 August 2010

I always quite liked Henry Moore sculptures until I went to the exhibition of his work at ~Kew Gardens in 2007/8 which I thought was simply fabulous. I became a convert. I can't talk about sculpture though in the same way as I attempt to talk about drawings and paintings - so this is a post which is biased towards information about the latest exhibition of Henry Moore's work in London.

Henry Moore's smaller pieces and drawings are now the major exhibition at Tate Britain in 2010 - Henry Moore which is on display until 8th August.

I've been slow to go because I had it in my head that Moore just belongs outside.

However over the weekend I came across a video on YouTube Henry Moore Tate Britain 2010. This shows the curator (plus an omnipresent plastic bottle of water!) giving a talk about the exhibition. It looks to me as if it were done at the Press Preview to me judging by the numbers present and the way everybody is clutching identical blue info packs. It's not brilliantly filmed or edited (but I guess the context might have been a bit of a challenge) however it has given me a very good insight into what these Moore pieces look like inside - and they look very good. So it's done its job and I now just need to work out a day to go visit! I'm particularly keen to go and view his drawings which are of course very much suited to an interior environment! ;)

I also came across some brand new photos that Tate Britain have posted on their Tate Britain Flickr account showing how they got one of the larger pieces into the museum and what's involved in setting up a show like this - see Installing Moore at Tate Britain slideshow.

However what is really great is that the Tate Britain website has assembled links to film and audio files from the BBC archives on the exhibition website:

Henry Moore in the BBC Archives

These are fascinating. For example, I discovered that by 1960 he had only ever created 3 male figures. His subject is the female figure - according to the clip from the Monitor programme which sees Hugh Weldon interviewing him in 196o.

This is the link to the proper BBC Archive website about Henry Moore - HENRY MOORE AT THE BBC | Exploring the art of a modern day master

Here's an extract from what the Tate has to say about the exhibition

Radical, experimental and avant garde, Henry Moore (1898-1986) was one of Britain’s greatest artists. This major exhibition will re-assert his position at the forefront of progressive twentieth-century sculpture, bringing together the most comprehensive selection of his works for a generation. Henry Moore will present over 150 significant works including stone sculptures, wood carvings, bronzes and drawings.

Henry Moore will reveal the range and quality of Moore’s art in new ways – sometimes uncovering a dark and erotically charged dimension that challenges the familiar image of the artist and his work. Henry Moore first emerged as an artist in the wake of the First World War, in which he served on the Western Front. This exhibition will emphasise the impact on Moore’s work of its historical and intellectual contexts: the trauma of war, the advent of psychoanalysis and new ideas of sexuality, and the influence of primitive art and surrealism.

The exhibition will explore the defining subjects of Moore’s work, including the reclining figure, the iconic mother and child, abstract compositions and seminal drawings of London during the Blitz. The exhibition will assemble a group of Moore’s great reclining figures carved in Elm wood, the largest number ever to be brought together. These beautiful, heavily grained works show the development of the reclining figure over the course of Moore’s career. The recurring motif of the mother and child will be explored throughout the exhibition. Moore called it his ‘fundamental obsession’, and presented a complex vision of the maternal relationship, ranging from the nurturing bond of Mother and Child 1930-31 (Private Collection), to Suckling Child 1930 (Pallant House).

This is the link to Henry Moore in the Tate Collection

See also my post today on The Art of the Landscape - The BBC, Henry Moore and A Sculptor's Landscape

For more information about Henry Moore try the website I put together after the Kew Gardens exhibition - Henry Moore - Resources for Art Lovers .


Henry Moore was born in Castleford, Yorkshire. After serving in the First World War he studied at Leeds School of Art in 1919, and won a scholarship to the Royal College in London in 1921. He lived and worked in London and Kent, teaching at the Royal College and Chelsea School of Art. He won the International Sculpture Award at the 1948 Venice Biennale. From 1940 Moore lived at Perry Green, Much Hadham, in Hertfordshire, now home to the Henry Moore Foundation.

The Henry Moore Foundation is the UK's largest artist foundation, running a visitor programme at the artist's former home in Hertfordshire, an exhibition and research programme at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, and staging Moore exhibitions all over the world. It awarded over £1.5 million in grants in 2008-9. Visit

Exhibition Details
  • Henry Moore is at Tate Britain Linbury Galleries Wednesday 24 February – Sunday 8 August 2010
  • Admission £12.50 ( £11 concessions)
  • Opening hours:Tate Britain is open daily, 10.00-17.50; Exhibitions 10.00-17.40 (last admission 17.00)
  • Event: Henry Moore on Film Saturday 24 April 2010
  • Public information number: 020 7887 8888.
  • More information

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