Henry Moore (1898-1986) is one of Britain’s most celebrated and pioneering modern artists and a key figure for the Arts Council Collection; with sculptures and works on paper spanning five decades, Moore was an important advisor to the acquisitions committee during the early 1950s, shaping the sculpture collection by advocating the acquisition of a significant group of post-war British sculpture by artists including Kenneth Armitage, Lynn Chadwick and Barbara Hepworth.
The show at the Victoria Art Gallery brings together the Collection’s complete holdings of sculptures and works on paper, spanning four decades. Seen together, for the first time in their entirety the works provide a succinct history of Henry Moore’s practice between 1927 and 1962, with key creative developments and themes visible in both two and three dimensions.
Councillor Cherry Beath (Lib-Dem, Combe Down), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council is proud that the Victoria Art Gallery is able to offer this rare opportunity for people in the west to appreciate such an incredible exhibition of Henry Moore’s work as it approaches the climax of its nationwide tour.”
In the 1930s Moore was a member of Unit One, a group of advanced artists organized by Paul Nash, and was a close friend of Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, and the critic Herbert Read. From 1932 to 1939 he taught at the Chelsea School of Art and became an important force in the English Surrealist movement.
Moore became an official war artist in 1940 and was commissioned to produce drawings of life in underground bomb shelters. In 1943 he received a commission from the Church of St. Matthew, Northampton, to carve a Madonna and Child; this sculpture was the first in an important series of family-group sculptures.
He won the International Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale of 1948 and produced several important public commissions in the 1950s, among them Reclining Figure, 1956–58, for the UNESCO Building in Paris. In 1963 Henry Moore was awarded the British Order of Merit.
Admission to the Moore exhibition, from 13 April to 23 June 2013, costs £3.50. Alongside the exhibition, the Victoria Art Gallery will also be showing artworks by the Bath-based painter Charlotte Sorapure and Warminster-based artist Julia Atkinson.
The Victoria Art Gallery, near Pulteney Bridge in Bath, is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sundays 1.30pm to 5pm and closed on Mondays. For more details call 01225 477233 or visit the Gallery’s website www.victoriagal.org.uk.