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  • Phyllis Pantazis


Henry Moore was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. He was born in 1898 during the First World War in Castleford, a small mining town in Yorkshire, England. From an early age Moore wanted to be a sculptor. So, in 1919 he enrolled at Leeds School of Art. Later, he went to the Royal College of Art in London where he met Irina Radetsky, his future wife. They married in 1929.

Moore then focused on establishing his reputation as a sculptor. In the 1930s he was among the leading avant-garde sculptors of Europe. Shortly after the Second World War broke out, Moore began drawing people sheltering in the London Underground during the Blitz. These shelter drawings captured the popular imagination recognized as a sensitive yet powerful response to the War. Moore’s own home in Hampstead, London was damaged by the bombing. He and Irina moved to Perry Green in Hertfordshire which became home for the rest of their lives. He bought over 70 acres (about the area of a large shopping mall) of land which now hosts the Henry Moore Foundation, established by the artist in 1977 to support the visuals arts, safeguard his legacy. The public can now visit his studios and have a unique experience exploring his large sculptures embedded in the landscape.

Irina Radetsky and Henry Moore had a daughter in 1946 called Mary. In the same year, the Museum of Modern Art, New York became interested in Henry’s work. In 1943 Henry was commissioned to carve a child for the Church of St. Matthew in Northampton. During the late 1940s and 1950s, he made a remarkable sequence of public works sited in schools, hospitals and housing estates which made his reputation grow and caused him to win the International Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale.

In 1960 Moore was at the height of his creativity. He was driven to create progressively abstract works that were inspired by nature. Making his sculptures larger and larger he explored the body-landscape for the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York. He was inspired by sculptures with knife-sharp edges, compact twisted forms and stretching points. He was featured regularly in the press, on television, and worked closely with several photographers.

Henry Moore worked for his Foundation until August 1986, when he died at home in Perry Green at the age of 79. With his art he wanted to encourage wide enjoyment and opportunity in the arts, particularly sculptures. His art pieces traveled all around the world, but Moore thought it was at Perry Green that the most profound understanding of his work could be gained.

Photo by: Phyllis Pantazis 10/09/2023

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