Tuesday, 3 August 2010

In the footsteps of ..... Henry Moore

When Henry Moore's studio in Hampstead was damaged during the Blitz in 1940 - he and his wife, Irina, rented Hoglands, a farmhouse in Perry Green in rural Hertfordshire, setting up his studio on one of the out-buildings. As is often the way with so many temporary measures, it soon became permanent one and he lived there until his death on 31 August 1986. Over the years, Moore purchased the cottage and the adjacent farmland, so that Perry Green today consists of an estate of some 70 acres comprising his home, workshops and an extensive sculpture garden with some 25 major pieces on display.

Perry Green reveals much about the post-war Moore. The Yellow Brick Studio, where Moore did much of his carving, gives a unique insight into various scuptural techniques, with examples of direct carving, lost wax casting, and of scaling up of the larger more monumental figures. Because Moore stipulated in his will that none of his work should be completed by his team of helpers after his death. The pieces on which he was working left mid-production - the small-scale maquette giving an indication of the final work, the polystyrene model the size and the unfinished plaster cast lacking the texture that he would have brought by hand over the subsequent weeks.

One of the barns houses temporary exhibitions. Henry Moore Deluxe: Books, Prints & Portfolios, which explores the stories behind many of his etchings and lithographs, is on display until the end of August.

The most enjoyable aspect of Perry Green by far is to walk amongst the sculptures knowing that, in most cases, this is where the artist chose to display them. The garden was to some extent Moore's shop window. One can only be impressed by the scale of some of the pieces, the largest of which (Large Figure in a Shelter, 1985-6) weighs over 21,000kg is some 7.62m high.

Before visiting Perry Green, I had not appreciated the extent to which Moore both ran a team of helpers who aided him in his work; and that Moore sent off many of his scuptures to foundaries [from Basingstoke to Berlin] to be cast. This was a considerable operation, with Moore the creative genius and director overseeing the artistic process.

For more information:
The Henry Moore Foundation, which is based at Perry Green, has an excellent interactive Virtual Perry Green.

No comments:

Post a Comment