I’m drawn to the soft curves of Henry Moore’s sculptures. To me, they seem to shift shape. What one day I see as a bull, the next can be a vertebrae. Moore’s works can be found in museums, art galleries and collections from around the world. Let’s have a look at Henry Moore’s sculptures in Dallas.
Who was Henry Moore?
Henry Spencer Moore (1898-1986) was a British artist famous for his semi-abstract bronze sculptures. Many of these are on a monumental scale and are displayed around the world as public art.
Moore was born in a small Yorkshire mining town. He wanted to become a sculptor, but his parents were opposed to the idea. So he trained as a teacher.
However, after serving in the Army during World War I, Moore got a scholarship which he used to study art at Leeds School of Art and the Royal College of Art.
His experiences in the war, for sure. Moore became the symbol of post-war modernism. According to Tate Britain, “Moore’s art engages with key artistic, intellectual and political issues of his time: the trauma of war – seen in his response to both World Wars, as well as the 1930s descent into war and later Cold War anxieties – together with new ideas of sexuality and the body, and the influence of non-western art, psychoanalysis and Surrealism.”
Henry Moore also found inspiration in natural objects like rocks, bones or shells.
Primitive art played a big role in Moore’s art in the 1920s and 1930s. He would sketch sculptures and artefacts he saw at the British Museum, like prehistoric fertility goddesses or Inuit artefacts.
Henry Moore’s sculptures in Dallas
The Nasher Sculpture Center has quite a collection of Henry Moore’s sculptures, maquettes and working models.
Working Model for Three Piece No. 3: Vertebrae (1968) is displayed in the beautiful Nasher sculpture garden, one of my favourite places in Dallas.
The inspiration for this work came from three interlocking stones that reminded him of bones. It also suggests a reclining figure.
Henry Moore used this piece as the basis for another piece that is displayed outside the Dallas City Hall.
The Dallas Museum of Art has about 24 pieces by Henry Moore in its collection.
One piece, however, has pride of place outside the main entrance: Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 3 (1961).
This piece, according to Moore, is “a metaphor for the human relationship with the earth.” Breaking down the figure allows the landscape to penetrate the sculpture both visually and physically.
In 1976, the City of Dallas commissioned a sculpture for the plaza in front of the new City Hall. Moore had been recommended by I.M Pei, the architect who designed the building.
Moore felt that the piece needed to be on massive scale to complement the City Hall large structure. The sculpture’s lines are organic and curved in opposition to the geometric lines of the City Hall.