Henry Moore lived between 1898 and 1986. He was born in England, and was the seventh child in his family. He served in the First World War at the age of fifteen, and then entered the Leeds College of Art in England in 1919 at the age of 21. After two years he entered the Royal College of Art, and his first solo exhibition at which he sold 30 drawings occurred in 1928 (Causey). Moore worked in both drawing and sculpture while he was in school, although today he is best known for being a sculptor. When he was young he would often go to the British Museum and the National Gallery to look at the works held there (Levine).
Henry Moore was a prolific sketch artist and he produced over 7000 drawings in his lifetime and also illustrated two books, The Rescue (1944) and Prométhée (1949-1950). In his artistic career he treated drawing and sculpture as separate practices (Causey). Moore’s preferences for technique differed greatly between drawing and sculpture. In sculpture, he preferred to work slowly and diligently, sometimes using drawings as a preliminary tool to become familiar with the objects or figures. With drawing, however, and especially human subjects, Moore preferred to work quickly so that the “vitality” of his subjects would be portrayed through the drawings. He also tended to be more “free” with drawing, and Causey writes that “pictorial art gave free range to his imagination more readily than sculpture did” (Causey).
I chose to look at Henry Moore’s work for several reasons. I wanted to explore an artist that I was unfamiliar with in an effort to see a completely new style and view of the world. I was intrigued by Moore’s work because I can identify with the way he drew to plan and get familiar with his objects. He used his drawing both as a technique apart from sculpture, and as a way to plan out his sculptures. When I look at some of the examples of his drawings, it is clear that he meticulously studied the objects he was going to work with before he began his pieces. Sometimes he drew twenty versions of the same object on one piece of paper before beginning a project. I can identify with this kind of resolve and determination because this is how I sometimes feel when I am doing a study drawing (although I recognize that doing one or two study drawings is not nearly the same as drawing my object 20 times). I often desire to draw something “right,” and this can cause me to draw a particular object or scene over and over again until it looks the way I “see” it.
Here are some examples in which Moore used drawing as a way to plan a sculpture:
Another example in which Moore studied the same figure many times to perfect it (Causey):
Calvocoressi, Richard, et al. Henry Moore. Ed. Stevens, Chris. New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2010. Print.
Causey, Andrew. The Drawings of Henry Moore. Surrey: Lund Humphries, 2010. Print.
Levine, Gemma. With Henry Moore: The Artist At Work. New York: Times Books, 1978. Print.
Lichtenstern, Christa. Henry Moore: Work, Theory, Impact. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2008. Print.