One well-known sculptor of the 20th century was Henry Moore. Sculpture produced by Henri Moore was usually an abstraction of the human form, most typically the female form. Henry Moore died in 1986, leaving behind the Henry Moore Foundation, established for promoting fine arts.
Henry Moore was born in 1898 and knew at a young age that he wanted to be a sculptor. He came from poor family of eight children, and even though he showed promise as a child, his family was against the choice of career. His father was a miner, and wanted his children to do better than he had. All he thought of sculpting was that it was a manual career and no prospects for a job.
He gained what art education he could at school, with the help of a teacher. After school, he taught for a time, and then entered the army. He was wounded in a gas attack,Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MooreJerusalem1.jpg and after the war returned to art school. He then won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art and furthered his education in school and by extensive visits at the museums in London.
As most students did at the time, he copied the masters, and tried to do new pieces in the same styles. However, he soon grew disillusioned with that method. Old style sculpting usually involved a system of models and smaller pieces before the final art work was produced. More and more artists were starting to do direct carving and Moore felt that this was the way to sculpt.
He did some traveling on a scholarship, visiting Italy and studying the masters. After his travels he taught at the Royal College of Art. This allowed him to earn, and at the same time work on his art. His first public commission work was several years later when he did a piece for one of the four walls of the London Underground Headquarters.
Henry Moore married in 1929 to a painter and they moved to a home in Hampstead. He left the Royal College and became the Head of the Department of Sculpture at the Chelsea School of Art. His work became more abstract as time went on, and he switched from direct carving to making casting in bronze.
In World War II his growth as an artist was halted and he became a war artist, and among other works, produced drawing showing the Londoners calmly living through the blitz. His home in Hampstead was hit by bomb shrapnel, so he moved to Hertfordshire, and he would live and work there for the rest of his life.
After the war, his reputation continued to grow. He had shows in the United States, and was commissioned for his first bronze piece in 1950. Moore continued to get more and more public work of art commissions. Henry Moore sculpture includes the UNESCO building in Paris in 1958 and the University of Chicago in 1967. The University of Chicago pieces, included “Nuclear Energy”, commemorated the 25 year anniversary of the first sustained nuclear reaction.
Moore produced more public pieces, and had a multitude of exhibitions. He was offered a knighthood in 1951, but turned it down, as he thought it would estrange him from his fellow artists.
In 1977 Moore set up the Henry Moore Foundation with the goal to promote fine arts to the public, and to show Moore’s work to the public. The Foundation controls his house and studios.
Henry Moore’s stature as an artist, specifically a sculptor has influenced the whole generation of sculptors that have come after him. The Foundation that he left behind also plays a big part in promoting contemporary art. Henry Moore sculpture pieces are in place all over the world for the public to enjoy.