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The Figge Art Museum To Feature Henry Moore Tapestries
Two Seated Women and a Child, Henry Moore, 83.5 x 107 inches, tapestry (wool, cotton and silk), Reproduced by permission of the Henry Moore Foundation and the Henry Moore family.

DAVENPORT, IA.- The Figge Art Museum in Davenport, IA has announced plans for an exhibition of tapestries and drawings by 20th century modern master Henry Moore. Mother and Child: Henry Moore’s West Dean Tapestries opens on April 12, 2008 and will run through January 11, 2009. The exhibition will contain eight large tapestries woven in a collaborative effort between Henry Moore and the West Dean Tapestry Studio between 1975 and 1979. This is the first time that the tapestries have been displayed in the United States.

“This marks an exciting new direction for the Figge and for the local community,” said Executive Director Sean O’Harrow. “For educational purposes, to present these important works is a unique opportunity. Few have had the opportunity to have access to these monumental two-dimensional interpretive tapestries, alongside the drawings that inspired them. We are extremely appreciative of Mary Moore, who has been instrumental in bringing these important works to the Figge, as well as the Henry Moore Foundation for their assistance. We look forward to further collaborations to bring such opportunities to our museum visitors.”

Throughout his working life Henry Moore constantly returned to the theme of the mother and child, a fundamental element in his art which he continually explored. The 'mother and child' theme dominates many of the tapestries, the drawings for which originated in the 1940s, inspired by the birth of Moore's only child, Mary. The decision to translate the drawings into tapestries coincided with the birth of Mary's own child.

Moore had previously worked with weavers to produce textile designs and, at the suggestion of his daughter, commissioned 8 tapestries to be woven at West Dean Tapestry Studio. They were exhibited in a highly acclaimed show at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 1980. In all Moore commissioned 23 tapestries, 10 of which now hang at the Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire, England.

All of the tapestries were made from Moore’s direction, some as many as 10 times the size of the original drawing. The array of media used by Moore in his drawings presented some interesting challenges to the weavers. The tapestries represent charcoal, wax crayon, pastel, chalk and felt-tipped pen washed over with watercolor. The result is an accurate and pleasing translation of Moore drawings interpreted in wool, cotton and silk.

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