Henry moore, Britain's greatest living sculptor, and possibly the finest sculptor alive in the world tody, will be 80 years old on Sunday (30 July).
Henry moore, Britain's greatest living sculptor, and possibly the finest sculptor alive in the world tody, will be 80 years old on Sunday (30 July). He is still working, his enthusiasm unimpaired, and with no sign of his genius fading.
SYNOPSIS: The garden of Moore's country home in Hertfordshire, about 30 miles (50 kilometres) north of london, provides an ideal setting for a selection of his works -- those that he has not sold. He will leave them, and the property, to the nation after his death.
His studios in the grounds are cluttered with small objects -- flints, shells, gourds, bones -- that may suggest a shape that interests him. He may start by fashioning a small plastic maquette. Built up to scale with plastic foam, he will look at it again; and if he still likes it, have it made at full size in fibre-glass for yet more study before the final work is cast.
Moore has a small house in Italy, at Forte dei Marmi, not far rom Florence (Firenze). It is near the mountain where Michelangelo - for whom Moore says he has "an obsession" - quarried the stone for some of his major works.
Moore and his wife spend several months there every years, party for a holiday; but he always does some work there too, and has often come back with four or five carvings.
He was particularly pleased when Florence, Michelangelo's city, presented an exhibition of his work in 1972. Last year, there was a major exhibition in Paris, and now, to mark his 80th birthday, London has mounted four. The main one is of ten air in Hyde Park.
Over the years, the non-specialist public has apparently ceased to find Moore's work strange, and has acquired an affection for his typical bulky reclining figures and large holes. He knows people will handle his wok in the park -- even climb on it -- but does not object. He calls it "humanising" it.
A miner's son from northern England, Moore always knew what he wanted.
He made his way from the local art school to london, living on part-time teaching. He was over 40 before he started making a living from sculpting. Since then, his work has sold for vast sums in the United States, West Germany and Japan. What remains is worth millions of pounds (dollars); the work of a long life-time, of one man's hands.