Leeds nostalgia: Thirty years after his death, Moore’s work in retrospective

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One of Yorkshire’s most renowned artists, Henry Moore, whose work is featured outside Leeds Art Gallery, is to be the subject of a major retrospective this year.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park wants to look at the work of Moore (1898–1986) in a major exhibition of more than 120 works considering the artist’s profound relationship with land, something which was fundamental to his practice and fuelled his visual vocabulary.

Born into a mining family in Castleford, West Yorkshire, Moore remains one of the most important artists of the 20th century and was a founding patron of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Henry Moore: Back to a Land will run from March 7 to September 6 and will be produced in partnership with The Henry Moore Foundation.

It will explore the artist’s radical notion of placing sculpture in the landscape, something which forever changed British sculpture. Moore was committed to showing his work in the open air and in the rolling hills of the sculpture park’s former deer park in particular.

Here, it can be experienced with the resident flock of sheep, an animal described by the artist as an ideal foil for the appreciation of his work, being exactly the right size and scale.

The exhibition takes its title from Jacquetta Hawkes’ book A Land (1951), a poetic history of the physical landscape of Britain. Moore illustrated a 1954 edition of the book and the exhibition features these originals.

Monumental sculptures, such as Large Two Forms (1966–69) and Large Reclining Figure (1984), are displayed against the beautiful and historic vistas of the Bretton Estate.

Moore said in 1974: “The mystery of what is under the shroud is somewhat akin to the mystery in poetry. It is this element of the unknown that fascinates me in caves and the holes in the sides of hills – you don’t know what is there until you look and explore into them. This mystery excites the imagination and poetry has the same multi-meaning that makes you explore it in depth.”

The retrospective will be accompanied by a publication with in-situ photography, an exhibition film, and an exclusive range of merchandise.

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