Henry Moore achieved international fame as a sculptor, despite once being denounced for promoting ‘the cult of ugliness’. And he also remained a most unassuming man, finds Laura Gascoigne, as two new exhibitions of his work prepare to welcome visitors.
Sculptors are very rarely household names, but no one who lived through the 1960s could be unfamiliar with the name of Henry Moore. At the height of his international success, Moore’s monumental public sculptures in prominent locations — from the 12ft-high Knife Edge Two Piece (1962–65) outside London’s Houses of Parliament to the 26ft-long Reclining Figure (1963–64) outside the Lincoln Centre in New York, US — became such a feature of the urban landscape that they appeared in cartoons in the popular press. For a Modernist abstract sculptor, that was fame.
In the 1950s, Moore added a new subject to his signature themes of the mother and child and the reclining figure. As a young man, his first sight of Stonehenge by moonlight, in 1921, had left an indelible impression; 30 years later, he began a series of large bronze totemic forms recalling prehistoric monoliths.
Henry Moore with three of his Upright Motives c.1955.Photo: Barry Warner
Dominique Pollès, called Pollès, is a French sculptor born in Paris in 1945. He is considered as the inventor of “organic cubism”.
Like Leonard de Vinci in an anatomical search of perfection, of representation of movement,with an almost scientifical or medical glance, Pollès holds the utmost passion of anatomy: he learns about the human body, the complicated hank of muscles, movements of members and all the bodily mechanics.
That’s why in 1964 he starts medicine school and along side goes to the Charpentier Academy where he follows art lessons. In 1966, he encountered sculpture in London where he was invited by his friend Enzo Plazota. This final step teaching him all the bases of sculpture. Pollès then decides to go to live in Italy, in Carrare, an important art place. He moved in 1970 and settled in Pietrasanta where he still lives.
His sculptures, by creating a vision of the moving being, polished and smoothed, break the pureness of aestheticism. He just knows one theme, one model: the female form. According to Pollès, this is the most beautiful one, the most harmonious one. “When we are looking at a feminine body, it is splendid, it is musical”.
His love of women, the sensuality, the complexity, the shapes and passions, brought him to explore the female form. Since the beginning he has created a singularly stylized cubist form; this becoming his signature form. All are cast in bronze by Pollès himself and made in a series of four with one artist’s proof. His masterliness of the patina is considered unparalleled. The world’s recognition of his craft is evidenced by the many awards he has won, the unique places he has shown and the prestigious private collections he is in, including that of Princess Caroline of Monaco.
Pollès was recently honored in an exhibition outside Paris, sponsored by the French Government, called “Sculptors From Rodin to The Present”. He was one of the few living sculptors to be so honored; the others include Abakanowicz, Arman, Saint-Phalle & Wesselmann. Maurice Rheims, a respected Art Critic, and a member of The French Academy, has said “I consider Pollès to be one of the outstanding sculptors of our time.”
His show in the Bagatelle Gardens in Paris in 1998 was a major honor as he was one of only two artists who have ever been allowed to present their work in the Bagatelle. The other artist is Henry Moore. – Galerie Philia is an internationally recognized contemporary design and modern fine arts gallery representing worldwide known designers and artists.
The Galerie Philia attempts in this way to build bridges between different artistic continents in order to enlighten artworks endowed with a marked artistic depth.
The V&A holds 23 sculptures by French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Between the 1870s and the 1890s he came to challenge traditional notions of beauty and appropriateness – and paved the way for modern sculpture.
This film, presented by V&A curator Alicia Robinson, shows in detail 6 works by Rodin – exploring his earlier work inspired by classical sculpture, Michelangelo and Donatello, and his development into spectacular explorations of patina, light and emotion.
In 1914 Rodin gave his work to the V&A as a symbol of the friendship between the people of France and Great Britain.
In this week’s episode of “Cocktails with a Curator,” join Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator Xavier F. Salomon in sipping on a refreshing Daiquiri as he unravels the mystery behind one of the Frick’s exquisite bronze sculptures, “Shield Bearer” by Bertoldo di Giovanni. Together with Xavier, decode details of the work that may point to the identity of the figure portrayed.
Formally trained as a classic painter, British artist Hugo Wilson borrows images and techniques from Old Masters to create dramatic new works.
‘A lot of historical references are simply practical. Others are more considered’ he explains. We visited Hugo in his London studio where he showed us the 8 meter wide charcoal drawing he’s been working on during lockdown, blending styles from classic to contemporary art.
In this video, Hugo discusses the influence of Old Masters on his own practice through works offered in Remastered, a curated sale exploring the dialogue between centuries.
The enduring appeal of Rodin, the modernity of his work, has to do with the way in which he makes visible an aesthetic of process – how, in other words, he takes traditional sculpture apart and puts it back together again in new and daring ways. Strategies of multiplication, scalability, fragmentation and recombinatory modes of assembly and display constitute some of the hallmarks of Rodin’s artistic practice.
Works by Rodin on view at the Cantor are often utilized by students and scholars from a range of disciplines, including medicine. In this moment, with outbreak of disease across the globe, what can Rodin’s works teach us about the relationship between art and nature?
It’s interesting that Rodin attracts so much attention from medical experts, especially here at Stanford, who have used his hands for diagnostic purposes. It’s true that Rodin was intensely interested in exploring pathologies of the body, especially now-discredited understandings of female hysteria. But there is also the irony that Rodin became furious after a critic accused him of making his first life-size figure through life casting, rather than modeling it himself. It should go without saying, but Rodin’s hands are not hands – not real ones, anyway – and their expressive forms don’t align neatly with the anatomical reality of hands in flesh and blood or even their more naturalistic counterparts. But the very fact that they elicit such responses demonstrates the power of art to provoke challenging questions that drive innovative paths of research that cut across disciplines, particularly in a university setting.
Alberto Giacometti is one of the most admired and sought-after sculptors of the 20th century. In this video, discover how his post-war work came to embody the ideas of Existentialism and how the influence of ancient sculpture led to the attenuated human form so emblematic of his oeuvre. Conceived in 1956-57, at the height of Giacometti’s international acclaim, ‘Femme Debout’ comes from an outstanding family collection of works from the European avant-garde.
An architectural marvel has sat incomplete in a residential corner of Barcelona since its architect, Antoni Gaudí, died during construction in 1926. For decades, La Sagrada Familia has been an example of Christian fealty and Catalan ingenuity wrought in granite and sandstone; but little could anyone have guessed that ninety-four years after Gaudí’s death a Japanese sculptor would dedicate his life to completing the architect’s colossal work…
Rodin travelled to Italy in 1875, a trip described by the late art historian Kirk Varnedoe as, ‘one of the seminal events in modern art’.
Here, in his mid-thirties, he fell under the spell of the Renaissance master, Michelangelo. His monumental, exaggerated nude figures would have a deep and lasting influence on the artist. ‘My liberation from academicism was via Michelangelo,’ Rodin later recalled. ‘He is the bridge by which I passed from one circle to another.’
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) is renowned for breathing life into clay, creating naturalistic, often vigorously modelled sculptures which convey intense human emotions: love, ecstasy, agony or grief. Breaking the rules of academic convention and classical idealism, Rodin ushered in a new form of highly expressive sculpture that went on to influence generations of artists that followed.