Berlin Art@Site Henry Moore The Archer, Der Bogenschuetze

Henry Moore


The Archer, Der Bogenschuetze

Potsdamer Strasse, Terrasse Neuen Nationalgalerie
Henry Moore: "I have gradually changed from using preliminary drawings for my sculptures to working from the beginning in three-dimensions. That is, I first make a maquette for any idea I have for a sculpture. The maquette is only three or four inches in size, and I can hold it in my hand, turning it over to look at it from above, underneath, and in fact from any angle."
So there are no preliminary drawings for The Archer: the work exists from start to finish in three dimensions’.2 Moore thus sought to create a work that existed in the round, without a definite front or back.
Henry Moore: "I look at them, handle them, see them from all round, and I may press them into clay and pour plaster into that clay and get a start as a bit of plaster, which is a reproduction of the object. And then add to it, change it. In that sort of way something turns out in the end that you could never have thought of the day before."
It is likely that Moore developed the maquette for this sculpture in just this way, pressing stones into clay and taking plaster casts from the impressions left behind. Once it was dry, he could then modify the plaster by adding and subtracting forms and smoothening or sharpening edges.
Discussing the cast of Working Model for Three Way Piece No.2: Archer held in the Cleveland Museum of Art, the curator Edward B. Henning suggested in 1971 that ‘the three ways of the title clearly refer to the three main elements of the work’: the irregular vertical form, the horizontal beam with twin projections and the large, curved wedge.8 However, Wilkinson refuted this explanation, suggesting that the ‘three ways’ in fact indicated the number of different positions in which the sculpture could be placed. Wilkinson supported this proposition with reference to Errol Jackson’s photographs of Moore experimenting with the maquette in his studio. In one photograph Moore holds the maquette in its final position, while in another it is resting on its side, with the tip of the wedge tilting upwards to form the sculpture’s tallest point.
The reception of the proposal, however, was less than enthusiastic, and the public expressed a strong resistance to what was considered a confusing and unrelatable sculpture. At the time, more traditional public art pieces were the norm in Toronto, often in the form of representational works such as commemorative statues, and public art was further viewed by the public as a frivolous expense. City Council subsequently rejected the funding for the sculpture.
Fifty years later, the legacy of Moore and Revell's contributions to Toronto have had lasting effects on the artistic community, and thanks to one stubbornly determined mayor and the generous citizens of a city on the brink, the installation of The Archer started Toronto's long journey on the road to becoming the cultural metropolis that we know and love today.
Henry Spencer Moore (30 July 1898 – 31 August 1986) was an English sculptor and artist. He was best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures which are located around the world as public works of art.
His forms are usually abstractions of the human figure, typically depicting mother-and-child or reclining figures. Moore's works are usually suggestive of the female body, apart from a phase in the 1950s when he sculpted family groups. His forms are generally pierced or contain hollow spaces. Many interpreters liken the undulating form of his reclining figures to the landscape and hills of his birthplace, Yorkshire.
His style
The aftermath of World War II, The Holocaust, and the age of the atomic bomb instilled in the sculpture of the mid-1940s a sense that art should return to its pre-cultural and pre-rational origins. In the literature of the day, writers such as Jean-Paul Sartre advocated a similar reductive philosophy. At an introductory speech in New York City for an exhibition of one of the finest modernist sculptors, Alberto Giacometti, Sartre spoke of"The beginning and the end of history". Moore's sense of England emerging undefeated from siege led to his focus on pieces characterised by endurance and continuity.
Moore's signature form is a reclining figure. Moore's exploration of this form, under the influence of the Toltec-Mayan figure he had seen at the Louvre, was to lead him to increasing abstraction as he turned his thoughts towards experimentation with the elements of design. Moore's earlier reclining figures deal principally with mass, while his later ones contrast the solid elements of the sculpture with the space, not only round them but generally through them as he pierced the forms with openings.
Earlier figures are pierced in a conventional manner, in which bent limbs separate from and rejoin the body. The later, more abstract figures are often penetrated by spaces directly through the body, by which means Moore explores and alternates concave and convex shapes. These more extreme piercings developed in parallel with Barbara Hepworth's sculptures. Hepworth first pierced a torso after misreading a review of one of Henry Moore's early shows. The plaster Reclining Figure: Festival (1951) in the Tate, is characteristic of Moore's later sculptures: an abstract female figure intercut with voids. As with much of the post-War work, there are several bronze casts of this sculpture. When Moore's niece asked why his sculptures had such simple titles, he replied,
"All art should have a certain mystery and should make demands on the spectator. Giving a sculpture or a drawing too explicit a title takes away part of that mystery so that the spectator moves on to the next object, making no effort to ponder the meaning of what he has just seen. Everyone thinks that he or she looks but they don't really, you know."
Moore's early work is focused on direct carving, in which the form of the sculpture evolves as the artist repeatedly whittles away at the block. In the 1930s, Moore's transition into modernism paralleled that of Barbara Hepworth; the two exchanged new ideas with each other and several other artists then living in Hampstead. Moore made many preparatory sketches and drawings for each sculpture. Most of these sketchbooks have survived and provide insight into Moore's development. He placed great importance on drawing; in old age, when he had arthritis, he continued to draw.
His work
After the Second World War, Moore's bronzes took on their larger scale, which was particularly suited for public art commissions. As a matter of practicality, he largely abandoned direct carving, and took on several assistants to help produce the larger forms based on maquettes. By the end of the 1940s, he produced sculptures increasingly by modelling, working out the shape in clay or plaster before casting the final work in bronze using the lost wax technique. These maquettes often began as small forms shaped by Moore's hands—a process which gives his work an organic feeling. They are from the body. At his home in Much Hadham, Moore built up a collection of natural objects; skulls, driftwood, pebbles, rocks and shells, which he would use to provide inspiration for organic forms. For his largest works, he usually produced a half-scale, working model before scaling up for the final moulding and casting at a bronze foundry. Moore often refined the final full plaster shape and added surface marks before casting.
Moore produced at least three significant examples of architectural sculpture during his career. In 1928, despite his own self-described"extreme reservations", he accepted his first public commission for West Wind for the London Underground Building at 55 Broadway in London, joining the company of Jacob Epstein and Eric Gill. In 1953, he completed a four-part concrete screen for the Time-Life Building in New Bond Street, London, and in 1955 Moore turned to his first and only work in carved brick, "Wall Relief" at the Bouwcentrum in Rotterdam. The brick relief was sculpted with 16,000 bricks by two Dutch bricklayers under Moore's supervision.
His life
Moore was born in Castleford, the son of a coal miner. He became well-known through his carved marble and larger-scale abstract cast bronze sculptures, and was instrumental in introducing a particular form of modernism to the United Kingdom. His ability in later life to fulfill large-scale commissions made him exceptionally wealthy. Despite this, he lived frugally; most of the money he earned went towards endowing the Henry Moore Foundation, which continues to support education and promotion of the arts.
After the war and following several earlier miscarriages, Irina gave birth to their daughter, Mary Moore, in March 1946. The child was named after Moore's mother, who had died two years earlier. Both the loss of his mother and the arrival of a baby focused Moore's mind on the family, which he expressed in his work by producing many"mother-and-child" compositions, although reclining and internal/external figures also remained popular.
In the 1950s, Moore began to receive increasingly significant commissions, including a reclining figure[24] for the UNESCO building in Paris in 1958. With many more public works of art, the scale of Moore's sculptures grew significantly and he started to employ an increasing number of assistants to work with him at Much Hadham, including Anthony Caro and Richard Wentworth.
Moore told a friend about his work Nuclear Energy. He once told a friend that he hoped viewers would"go around it, looking out through the open spaces, and that they may have a feeling of being in a cathedral."
The surroundings of the work is important for Moore: “When I was offered the site near the House of Lords ... I liked the place so much that I didn't bother to go and see an alternative site in Hyde Park—one lonely sculpture can be lost in a large park. The House of Lords site is quite different. It is next to a path where people walk and it has a few seats where they can sit and contemplate it."
The Moore Foundation was established to encourage the public appreciation of the visual arts and especially the works of Moore. It now runs his house and estate at Perry Green, with a gallery, sculpture park and studios.