Exhibition Catalogue for 'The Shape of Anxiety: Henry Moore in the 1930's'
Many of us may be familiar with Moore’s large plasters from the 1950s and 60s on view in the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre. They’ve been on display there since the 1970s -- reclining female figures, nourishing, life-fulfilling.The AGO’s new exhibition from London’s Tate Britain shows a whole other side to Moore’s work - anxious, sinister, deformed, nightmarish, surreal. Moore’s sculptures from the 1930s are full of the anxieties of his age -- his own horrific experiences in World War I and disturbing new discoveries about sexuality and the unconscious.
Henry Spencer Moore (1898-1986) was arguably the most influential British sculptor of the twentieth century. Brought up in Castleford in Yorkshire, Moore ended his life fabulously wealthy, completing commissions for large-scale public sculptures in countries around the world.
The scale of Moore's success in later life has tended to obscure the radical nature of his achievement. Rejecting the influence of his teachers and inspired by works from other cultures he saw in museums, Moore championed direct carving, evolving abstract forms derived from the human body. Tate Britain's exhibition Henry Moore re-examines his importance, concentrating on the period from the 1920s through to the early 1960s. Moore's life and work are introduced by Chris Stephens, a leading authority on both Moore and the British art scene of the period. Separate essays explore his relationships in the 1930s with both British and international avant-garde figures, including Naum Gabo, Alberto Giacometti, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Pablo Picasso and Herbert Read; his move to Perry Green in Hertfordshire during the Blitz and the subsequent founding of the Henry Moore Foundation; and his lasting influence on British art following his death.
Uniquely, this book includes statements by contemporary artists on the important influence of Moore on their own work, as well as a photo-essay and an illustrated chronology. With Moore's reputation once more in the ascendant, after the huge public response to recent exhibitions such as the one held at Kew Gardens in 2008, this thorough and perceptive reassessment is long overdue.
David Alan Mellor is Professor of Art History at the University of Sussex.
Jennifer Mundy is Head of Collection Research at Tate Britain.
Jonathan Wood is an art historian based at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds and an Associate Lecturer at Leeds University.
Chris Stephens is Curator of Modern British Art and Head of Displays at Tate Britain.
Lyndsey Stonebridge is Associate Dean for Postgraduate Research, Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of East Anglia.
Published by Tate Britain
26.5 x 21.5 cm
220 colour illustrations