The observation of nature is part of an artist’s life, it enlarges his form-knowledge, keeps him fresh and from working only by formula, and feeds inspiration…I have found principles of form and rhythm from the study of natural objects such as pebbles, rocks, bones, trees, plants… There is in Nature a limitless variety of shapes and rhythms...from which the sculptor can enlarge his form-knowledge experience.
Gagosian is pleased to present Henry Moore: Wunderkammer—Origin of Forms, curated by Richard Calvocoressi, director of the Henry Moore Foundation.
A giant of modern sculpture, Moore engaged the abstract, the surreal, the primitive and the classical in vigorous corporeal forms that are as accessible and familiar as they are avant-garde. His large-scale works celebrate the power of organic imagery at a time when traditional representation was largely eschewed by the vanguard art establishment. Their overwhelming physicality and forceful presence promotes a charged relation between sculpture, site, and viewer.
This special exhibition explores the origins and processes behind Moore’s sculptures by recreating his maquette studio at Perry Green—now home to The Henry Moore Foundation—at the Davies Street gallery. His Wunderkammer of natural stones, shells, bones, animal skulls, and other found objects will be presented alongside the drawings and sculptural maquettes that they inspired, demonstrating the metamorphosis from nature to sculpture, from inanimate object to human or animal form, that was the impetus of his oeuvre. Moore often cast natural specimens into plaster without further intervention as the first step of their absorption into his vast figurative idiom. Progressions can be traced between organic elements, preliminary sketches, maquettes and finished bronzes—for example, the amorphous totemic stack contoured in a 1955 maquette that is monumentalized in Upright Motive No. 5 (1955–56). These fluid evolutions also occur in reverse, as in the Studies after Crucifixion Sculpture (1954–56) executed in pencil and ink. These, and more than sixty works on paper, treat pebbles, trees, sheep, birds, Moore's own hands, and nude figures, demonstrating the sheer breadth of biomorphic subjects that find tenuous harmonies in visionary monumental sculpture.
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2019
The Fall 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Sinking (2019) by Nathaniel Mary Quinn on its cover.
Nature and Inspiration: Henry Moore at Houghton Hall
Sebastiano Barassi reflects on the centrality of nature in the work of Henry Moore—as form, material, inspiration, and site.
An Evolving Legacy
A look inside the Henry Moore Foundation, their new initiatives, and what’s next.