The Modern World During and After the World Wars, C. 1914–1960

European Art After World War II

Who was Henry Moore?

Henry Moore (1898–1986) was one of the most significant modernist sculptors, and arguably the most important British sculptor, of the twentieth century. His work was influenced by non-Western art, especially Mayan art. His abstractions of the human form, such as Reclining Figure (1929), were directly inspired by chacmool figures (which also recline) from Chichén Itzá in Mexico. Representations of reclining forms, family groups, and mother-and-child pairs were an enduring subject for the artist. Moore’s style is described as “biomorphic,” meaning that his figural abstractions are often soft, undulating, and organic. He also produced large sculptures that were hollow and “pierced,” emphasizing the mystery of negative space. Moore was incredibly prolific in his later years, requiring teams of assistants to produce monumental works of public sculpture, which can be seen around the globe.


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