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Major Henry Moore Exhibition Coming To Te Papa

Te Papa, in partnership with The Henry Moore Foundation of England, have produced an exhibition for New Zealand of major works by the famous British sculptor Henry Moore.

The exhibition Henry Moore: journey through form consists of fifteen large-scale bronzes. These works will be on display in the TOWER Gallery during the 2002 New Zealand Festival. One very large work – measuring nearly four metres long by two-and-a-half metres high and nearly two metres wide – will be displayed in the plaza outside Te Papa.

This exhibition is the first time that Henry Moore’s large-scale works have been displayed in New Zealand. Also included in Henry Moore: journey through form will be a number of small working models and some of the famous found objects, including bones and stones, from which Moore developed his huge sculptures.

‘Having an exhibition as significant as this, and with such large pieces, is incredibly exciting,’ said Te Papa Chief Executive Dame Cheryll Sotheran. ‘The sheer size of the pieces will also mean a huge logistical operation to get them to their display area.’

Henry Moore: journey through form also has a section highlighting Moore's working methods. Visitors can see how Moore developed major works through a series of experimentations with form, and a succession of developmental stages.

During Henry Moore: journey through form, a satellite exhibition of drawings by Moore and some of his contemporaries will also show at Te Papa’s The Ilott Centre.

Henry Moore was one of the founding fathers of Modernism. He once said that ‘sculpture is like a journey. You have a different view as you return. The three-dimensional world is full of surprises in a way that a two-dimensional world could never be.’ (1962)

As well as playing a key role in English modern sculpture, Moore’s work has also had an impact on the development of sculpture in New Zealand.

The body of Henry Moore: Journey through Form concentrates on large and medium-sized bronze works from the 1960s to the 1980s, including Two Piece Reclining Figure (1969–70), Helmet Head (1960), and Three Piece Reclining Figure No. 2 Bridge Prop (1963). A key work in Henry Moore: journey through form is Figure in a Shelter (1983). A component of this is the work currently sited in the Wellington Botanical Gardens.

Henry Moore: journey through form runs at Te Papa from 22 February to 4 June.



All but one of the works in the exhibition belong to the Henry Moore Foundation but that does not mean that they are held all together in a single location. Working Model for Sheep Piece, 1971 is currently touring the United States of America as part of the exhibition, Henry Moore: Sculpting the 20th Century. The exhibition opened in Dallas and moved to San Francisco and works are now installed at its final venue, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. As the sculpture will probably be flown directly from America to New Zealand, it will be a long time before it is back at home in Perry Green.

Specific security issues had to be taken into account when arranging recently for the removal of Moore’s Figure in a Shelter 1983 from the gardens of the British Prime Minister’s country house, Chequers, where for the past fifteen years it has been viewed by eminent political visitors from around the world. It returned to Perry Green so that conservation work could be carried out before beginning its travels to New Zealand. Reclining Figure: Umbilicus 1984 recently returned from loan to another political venue, the British Embassy in Luxembourg.

As complex to organise as the Chequers collection was the removal by crane of Three Piece Reclining Figure No.2: Bridge Prop 1963 from the roof of Leeds City Art Gallery, involving the closure to the public of the whole area in front of the gallery as well as assistance from a host of technical staff from both Leeds and Perry Green. The large Two Piece Reclining Figure: Points 1969-70 (LH 606), 365cm long and weighing 3500 kg when cased, has recently returned from display in Beihai Park, Beijing, and is currently being prepared for its new journey to New Zealand.


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