In 1998 we celebrated Henry Moore. It was his centenary, and on a cloudless week-end in June The Henry Moore Foundation, the site of Moore’s home since 1940, opened up its grounds to the visiting public, allowing Moore’s large-scale outdoor sculptures to be touched, climbed on and enjoyed as never before.
In the presence of Mary Moore, the artist’s only daughter, we launched Celebrating Moore, my Book of the Week: a vast and detailed illustrated compendium of Moore’s work masterminded by David Mitchinson, long-standing curator of the Foundation’s collections and Moore’s former assistant. Nearly fifteen years and several printings later, the book is still going strong, unrivalled as the most comprehensive single volume on Moore’s sculpture and drawings. Over 250 works are illustrated: looking at the book afresh now, I’m struck by the variety of interesting and unusual outdoor backdrops against which sculptures are displayed, including the ancient Trajan Markets in Rome and a hilltop high above Florence. Distinguished artists, critics and art historians, including Anthony Caro, Richard Cork and John Read, contributed short texts on their favourite pieces, producing a fascinatingly multi-faceted narrative. It was indeed a joyous celebration of the work, painstakingly curated, checked, corrected and perfected over months of pre-publication toil by author, designer and printer.
The celebration of Henry Moore is ongoing, his place in the canon of British art secure. The sheer volume and diversity of his output provides a rich vein for exploration by scholars and curators, and this year sees his work placed in two very different contexts. Moore Rodin, which opens at The Henry Moore Foundation later this week, pairs Moore’s sculpture with the work of a much older Great Sculptor, while Francis Bacon / Henry Moore at the Ashmolean this autumn introduces a strikingly different yet equally intriguing pairing.
At Lund Humphries, the celebration of sculpture continues: don’t forget to take advantage of our special offer giving a 20% discount on all of our Modern British Sculpture books if ordered online.
Lucy Myers, Managing Director
Celebrating Moore: Works from the Collection of The Henry Moore Foundation edited by David Mitchinson. Paperback 2006. 360 pages. 346 colour illustrations. £25/$50