Carving sculpture out of a block of stone or wood was central to Henry Moore’s practice throughout his career. This exhibition explores how for nearly seven decades Moore continually returned to this method to make some of his most imaginative and inspired work.
As a young artist, Moore was attracted to the principles of ‘direct carving’ and ‘truth to material’ which had inspired the great pioneers of modern sculpture, who in turn had been influenced by the work of masters from ancient civilisations on view in ethnographic displays across Europe. In his early career Moore adopted these principles uncompromisingly, creating quite experimental and innovative work in materials ranging from indigenous stones to exotic woods, a choice which declared his distance from the use of white marble typical of a tradition he was keen to reject.
After the Second World War Moore softened his position, to reflect his new belief that it was the idea, rather than the technique, that really mattered in art. Yet, while for many years modelling in plaster or clay and casting in bronze was his preferred method to make new work, he never completely relinquished carving. Having acquired a house near the famous Carrara quarries in Tuscany, from the early 1960s Moore took to work in marble and adopted more universal and timeless subjects, positioning himself within the great tradition of European humanism epitomised by one of his favourite artists, Michelangelo.
This exhibition is the first in a new series of thematic displays showcasing the riches of the collection of the Henry Moore Foundation. Alongside a selection of over 30 sculptures dating from the 1920s through to the 1980s, it includes an extensive display of film, photographs and archival material from the Henry Moore Archive.
Entry to Out of the Block is included in your Henry Moore Studios & Gardens entry ticket, available from the ticket desk on arrival, or online via the Art Tickets site.