Described as radical, experimental and avant-garde, Henry Moore was by far one of the leading British artists of his generation. Celebrated and commissioned worldwide, his work introduced Modernism to a wide public and contributed to a seismic shift in sculpture practice. Moores work has been the subject of extensive exhibitions worldwide, from a large retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1946, to the most recent at Tate Britain, which opens on 24 February this year.
showcases the largest display of open-air bronzes by the artist in Europe. Featuring key loans from The Henry Moore Foundation, Tate and other collections, sculptures that represent iconic themes of the artists career are presented across 90 acres of parkland, Moores preferred setting when he visited in the 1970s. Created between 1955 and 1985, the bronzes represent the peak of the artistscareer when he worked on a monumental scale and particuarly for the open air.
The YSP display is a permanent, yet changing outdoor exhibition and is open every day of the year except for 24 and 25 December. There are currently eleven sculptures in the landscape, including Two Piece Reclining Figure: Cut, a work rarely seen in the UK; Large Totem Head, which demonstrates the inspiration Moore derived from seed heads and organic forms; and Draped Seated Woman loaned by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park is an extraordinary place for audiences keen to learn more about Henry Moore and his legacy. As well as important sculptures by his contemporary Barbara Hepworth, visitors can also experience work by subsequent generations of artists who, whilst keen to distance themselves from his ideas and use of form, struggled to deny that Moore paved the way for more radical artistic expression.
Notable amongst these are Eduardo Paolozzi and William Turnbull whose work, described in the 1950s by the critic Herbert Read as the Geometry of Fear, was a marked departure from Moores organic use of form. Similarly, several of Moores assistants such as Sir Anthony Caro (whose sculptures Promenade and Dream City are currently on display at YSP), and Phillip King subsequently established their own distinct and different practices, but acknowledge the importance of his influence and disciplined approach. The Henry Moore Foundation continues to fund and support emerging and innovative contemporary practice.