The most significant British sculptor of the 20th century, Henry Moore (1898-1986) is known for his semi-abstract figurative works, often female, that consider the interrelationship of negative space and positive form. The son of a miner, Moore engages closely with his English artistic and cultural heritage in his work: his forms echo those of the mountains, valleys, cliffs and caves of England; he frequently employs native stone in his work; and he engages closely with the landscape tradition in English art. After serving in World War I, Moore began his studies at the Royal College of Art in London in 1921. In addition to his formal art training, Moore was influenced by the African, Oceanic , and especially pre-Columbian sculpture in the British Museum, which he visited frequently. Pre-Columbian sculpture in particular remained a significant influence throughout his career. In the 1930s, he was also influenced by the modernist sculpture of Pablo Picasso, Hans Arp and Alberto Giacometti, which he viewed in Paris. In the early years of his career, Moore’s sculptures were primarily carved directly from stone or wood, based on preparatory drawings.
In addition to his work as a sculptor, Moore is esteemed for his skills as a draughtsman, and during World War II, his drawings of people made in London’s public air raid shelters showed both keen interest in human form and a strong ability to render subjectivity. The exhibition of these and other drawings also enabled wider public knowledge of his work. In the 1950s, Moore began working in the larger forms for which he is primarily known. His working process also shifted. Rather than beginning with a preparatory drawing, Moore made maquettes, or small models, in clay or plaster. These allowed him to work out his ideas in three dimensions rather than two. He also began making some works in cast bronze in addition to stone and wood. The lithographs by Moore in Pitzer College’s collection were generously donated by Allan Lenzner.
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