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September 05, 1986 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-09-05

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The Michigan Daily

Friday, September 5, 1986

Page 15

Moore dies;
an era ends


By Whitney Krueger
Henry Moore, the British
sculptor whose work is recognized
by its broad stylized forms
expressing the human figure,
died this past Sunday in his home
outside of London. He was 88.
The sculptor had spent his
lifetime exploring human form
S and its relationship to the
environment it inhabits.
Through monumental wood and
stone carvings and bronze
castings, Moore revealed the
strength and energy of human
The expanse of his work is
exhibited worldwide, with major
repositories in London, Toronto
and Washington. Moore has
received invitations from the
cities of Florence, Vienna and
Paris to match his work against
the finest each has to offer. A
recent undertaking was the
major installation of twenty-five
bronze sculptures across the five
boroughs of New York City-- an
unprecedented occasion in New
York public art.
Moore was born in Castleford,
a coal mining town near
Yorkshire. In 1919, he enrolled at
Leeds Art School. By 1921, Moore
was awarded a scholarship to the
Royal College of Art in London.
During this period he spent his
time studying primitive art at the
British Museum. His hours there
were exhausted "trying to un-
derstand what the world had
already done, because then you
can go from there." Those initial
discoveries of African and
Mexican\ sculpture became the
foundation for his understanding
and experience of sculpture. In
1928, for his first public
coinmission,: he eteated a
reclining figure for the St James
Park subway station in London.
Although acceptance was not
large, one-man and group
exhibitions followed.
Moore's popular reputation was
established in1940 with his
"shelter drawings." At a time
when air raids forced Londoners
to take refuge in the underground
stations, Moore took to sketching
the rows of huddled figures.
These drawings gave dignity to
scenes that were in actuality
humiliating conditions. By
the war's end, his reputation had
heightened to national honor.
In his early work, Moore
showed his remarkable ability to
recognize and to .absorb the
radical artistic movements of his
contemporaries. During this part
of the century, these developments
included Brancusi, Picasso,
S Primitivism, Cubism and
Moore was influenced by
Brancusi's "truth to materials,"
and the importance of simple
organic forms. "Brancusi made
us see what a beautiful shape an
egg was. Just the simple shape of
an egg."
He understood Cubism's
destruction of the monolith, its
multiple points of view and its
interpretation of positive and
negative space, all of which has
come to be synonymous with

Moore's work.
Moore's own philosophy was to
open eyes. "That's the whole
thing about painting and
sculpture, it's to make people
look." He believed there were
qualities about the human body
that determined our responses to
the world. He felt our physical
upright, laying down to rest--
contributed to our sense of balance
and our perception of the vertical.
"When we see a flower sticking
up on a stalk, it's like the way
we're held up inside by the bones.

viewer moves around individual
While discussing the
exhibition of his work, Moore
once said, "my sculpture needs
open air! . .. sky, clouds, trees
and changes of weather." Indeed,
there is no substitute to seeing his
sculpture in parks and gardens
compared with interior
installation. Outdoor sculpture
becomes architecture as well as
sculpture. Pieces viewed in a
breathing environment contribute
to the understanding of the
sculptor's ideas. Back in his
cottage in Much Hadden in
Hertfordshire, sheep graze
around a collection of sculptural
works. One particular work,
Sheep Piece, was Moore's gift to
the grazing animals in the
meadow. Curves and openings in
the structure are shined where the
animals have rubbed alongside.
This large-scale piece is only one
example of his work in harmony
with the environment.

'3 r

Henrey Moore's 1939 sculpture, 'Three points,' demonstrates the sculptor's use of positive and negative space.

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