The display covers both the pre-war and post-war era concentrating on British loans as it challenges the familiar image of Henry Moore (1898-1986) as an artist. It features works loaned from Tate Britain, the Henry Moore Foundation, private collections from around the country and pieces returning to the UK from display at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Canada where the show has been since leaving Tate Britain last year.
After surviving the horrors of the First World War where he served on the Western Front, the impact it left on Moore can clearly be seen in the display through his Shelter Drawings from the Blitz on London, The Helmet which he sculpted shortly before the Second World War began reflecting the mood of anxiety in the nation, and Atom Piece which expresses the fears of nuclear annihilation which he produced in the 1960s during the Cold War.
Moores obsession with the maternal relationship is also explored, with numerous representations of the mother and child which he repeated throughout his career being on display. There are also several works of reclining figures which became synonymous with Moore including two large Elmwood figures which are among the largest in the exhibition.
Items of Moores work from Leeds Art Gallery
s own collection are on show, while Moores local links are also further reinforced by his drawings of coalmining in his native Castleford.
Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said: We are all really excited that the waiting is almost over and this fantastic exhibition is about to begin. It is the biggest exhibition to be held at Leeds Art Gallery in over 20 years and it is wonderfully fitting that it is for Henry Moore who has such strong links with the gallery and the city.
We are really proud to be offering this exhibition free for everyone to see and would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make it happen. We hope people of all ages flock to see it as it really is something special.
Head of Displays at Tate Britain Chris Stephens said: We are delighted that the Henry Moore exhibition, following its success in London, will be presented at Leeds Art Gallery. It is very appropriate for Moore to return to the city where he began his career."
Director of The Henry Moore Foundation Richard Calvocoressi said: The Henry Moore Foundation is proud to have helped realise this exhibition, both with our grant support, and by lending works from a collection which was established by Moore himself.
There are many ongoing connections between the artist and his native Yorkshire, not least the Henry Moore Institute next door to Leeds Art Gallery. The Institute, a world leader in sculpture studies, exists as a result of Moore's generosity and foresight."
Prints and Portfolios - an exhibition of Henry Moores prints, lithographs and deluxe publications - will be open daily at the Henry Moore Institute (next door to Leeds Art Gallery) until April 3 2011.