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Abstract Art Gallery

Isle of Wight Gallery Fine Art & Photography

Henry Moore signed lithographs

Henry Moore

Moore hailed from a modest coal-mining town near Leeds in the northern region of England. He was the seventh child of Raymond Spencer Moore, an Irish-descendant man from Lincolnshire, and Mary Baker, hailing from Staffordshire in the English Midlands. His father, a coal miner, was a self-taught individual, a staunch socialist, and an advocate for trade unions. His journey towards his artistic career began when Moore earned a scholarship to attend Castleford Grammar School from 1909 to 1915. It was during this period that he received valuable guidance and encouragement from his art instructor, Alice Gostick. While he initially aspired to become a sculptor, he temporarily followed his father's wishes and underwent teacher training. However, the outbreak of World War I interrupted his plans, and in February 1917, he enlisted in the British Army. Serving in France, Moore endured the effects of gas shells following intense bombardments. His health deteriorated, leading to his return to England for medical treatment and recovery. In September 1919, he received a rehabilitation grant, which he used to attend the Leeds School of Art for a two-year course. During his initial year at Leeds, Moore predominantly focused on honing his drawing skills. Despite his desire to study sculpture, no instructor was available until his second year, when Moore became the first pupil. Shortly thereafter, he was joined by Barbara Hepworth, a fellow student from Wakefield, who also went on to become a renowned sculptor. Moore's intellectual horizons gradually expanded, and he became captivated by the modern artworks displayed in the private collection of Sir Michael Sadler, the vice-chancellor of the University of Leeds. After successfully passing his sculpture examination at the end of his second year at Leeds School of Art, Moore was awarded a prestigious Royal Exhibition scholarship to pursue advanced studies in sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London. In September 1921, he relocated to London, embarking on three years of intensive sculptural education. He completed his diploma at the Royal College in just two years and dedicated a third year to postgraduate studies. During his time there, Moore formed a close friendship with the institution's director, William Rothenstein, who, while a conservative artist himself, was supportive of modern artistic trends and remained a lifelong advocate for Moore's work.

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