There are so many influencial British artists… Selecting one was not an easy task.
I chose Henry Moore, known for his abstract monumental bronze sculptures which are located around the world as public works of art. In this article I analyze his career in terms of factors that contributed to his fame.

Henry Moore was one of the most influencial English artists of the 20th century.
He was born on the 30th of July 1898 in Castleford, Yorkshire, England.
His interest in sculpture appeared in early childchood. Moore attended infant and elementary schools in Castleford, where he began modelling in clay and carving in wood. He decided to become a sculptor when he was eleven inspired by the achievements of Michelangelo.

Moore’s talent to medieval sculpture was noticed by a teacher and he got a scholarship at Castleford Secondary School. With the determination to make art his career, Moore got grants to study sculpture at the Leeds School of Art in 1919.
Two years later he won a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art in London. Possibility to study in this city allowed him to make his knowledge of primitive art and sculpture even broader, studying the ethnographic collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum.

Moore presented a modern approach in his modern Victorian style early works which were not appreciated by his tutors. 1924 was a year of experiencing the European art of great artists. Moore won a six-month scholarship which allowed him to travel to Italy and also to France. In Northern Italy he studied the great works of Michelangelo, Giotto di Bondone and Giovanni Pisano, artists who definitely influenced his style. During the visit in Paris Moore appraised the sculptural works in Louvre and took timed-sketching classes at Academie Colarossi.

On returning to London, Moore undertook a seven-year teaching post at the Royal College of Art. He was required to work two days a week, which allowed him time to spend on his own work. His first public commission, West Wind (1928–29), was one of the eight ‘winds’ reliefs high on the walls of London Underground’s headquarters at 55 Broadway.
In 1932, Moore took up a post as the Head of the Department of Sculpture at the Chelsea School of Art.
At this time, after becoming a member of abstract passionates – Seven and Five Society, he was also frequently travelling to Paris.

During the war, Moore was commissioned as a war artist, notably producing powerful drawings of Londoners sleeping in the London Underground. He got married to Irina, who started posing for him when they moved to a studio in Hampstead on Parkhill Road. 1940, he and Irina moved out of London to live in a farmhouse called Hoglands.

In 1946 Moore made his first visit to America when a retrospective exhibition of his work opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Kenneth Clark became an unlikely but influential champion of Moore’s work, and through his position as member of the Arts Council of Great Britain he secured exhibitions and commissions for the artist. In 1948, Moore won the International Sculpture Prize at the Venice Biennale and was one of the featured artists of the Festival of Britain in 1951.

In the 1950s, Moore began to receive increasingly significant commissions, including a reclining figure for the UNESCO building in Paris in 1957. With many more public works of art, the scale of Moore’s sculptures grew significantly.
Exhibition in Florence and successes in London made his wealth grow so he established Henry Moore Foundation to promote the public appreciation of art and to preserve his sculptures.

Henry Moore, OM, CH, Reclining Figure, 1951, plaster and string, 105.4 x 227.3 x 89.2 cm, Tate Gallery, London.

Factors that contributed to the success of Henry Moore are:
1. Good Education
2. Contacts with influencial figures
2. Passion, determiation, productivity
3. Travelling to experience different cultures
4. Study the works of great artists to get inspired
5. Presenting his works in famous places

If you are interested in works of Henry Moore, go to Tate Britain! Exhibition of his sculptures is open until 8 of August 2010.
References:
1.Tate Britain Website
2.Henry Moore : an illustrated biography Packer, William. London : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1985.
3. The art of Henry Moore, Will Grohmann. Imprint London : Readers Union, 1966.
4. Henry Moore: Space, Sculpture, Politics. Beckett, Jane; Russell, Fiona. Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate, 2003

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