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Henry Moore, OM, CH, FBA


Henry Moore, OM, CH, FBA, was an English sculptor and artist best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures, which are located around the world as public works of art.

Moore’s forms are usually abstractions of the human figure, typically depicting mother-and-child or reclining figures. Also, they are generally pierced or contain hollow spaces. Many interpreters liken the undulating form of his reclining figures to the landscape and hills of his birthplace, Yorkshire.

Moore was born, in Castleford, Yorkshire, the seventh of eight children of a coal miner and his wife. He professed to have decided to become a sculptor at the age of 11 after hearing about Michelangelo's achievements at a Sunday school reading.

Moore volunteered for army service. He was injured at the Battle of Cambrai and saw out the remainder of the war as a physical education instructor. After the war he received an ex-serviceman’s grant to continue his education and in 1919 he became a student at the Leeds School of Art (now Leeds College of Art), which set up a sculpture studio especially for him.

In 1924, Moore won a six-month travelling scholarship to study in northern Italy and Paris. Upon returning to London, he took up a teaching post at the Royal College of Art for six years, after which he moved to the Chelsea School of Art (now the Chelsea College of Art and Design) as head of the Department of Sculpture. With the outbreak of World War II, the school was evacuated and Moore gave up his teaching post. He was commissioned as a war artist, and his powerful drawings did much to enhance his reputation, particularly in the United States.

Moore became well known through his carved marble and larger-scale abstract cast bronze sculptures, and was instrumental in introducing a particular form of modernism to the United Kingdom. His ability to fulfill large-scale commissions made him exceptionally wealthy in his later life. Yet he lived frugally and most of the money he earned went towards endowing the Henry Moore Foundation, which continues to support the education and promotion of the arts.