Henry Moore in Colour

27 Jul-3 Nov 2024

The Lightbox Gallery
Woking, Surrey GU21 4AA


Henry Moore was a remarkably talented and prolific draughtsman, producing nearly 7,500 drawings over seven decades. Drawing provided Moore with a versatile tool, suitable to develop ideas for sculpture but also independently of it. Its ease of use made it ideal for a wide range of purposes, from the study of forms to the exploration of new subjects and visual languages. Crucially, for Moore drawing was not just a means to support his sculptural practice, but also a method to create finished artwork in its own right and an essential daily visual exercise.
Despite being one of the most influential and innovative sculptors of the modern era, it was actually thanks to the exhibitions at London’s National Gallery of his Shelter drawings - which had been commissioned by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee during WW2 - that Moore first received widespread popular recognition in Britain. To him, and many of his contemporaries, sculpture was primarily an art of form and space, in which colour did not have a prominent role, other than through the subtle variations offered by different stones and bronze patinas. Yet among the artists Moore most admired were many painters. Inspired by them, in his drawings he frequently tried out painterly techniques and explored the expressive potential of colour.
Henry Moore in Colour presents a group of drawings animated by a powerful chromatic vibrancy. From the life studies of his student days through to the casual drawings of his late years, these works reveal a deep appreciation of the unique characteristics and possibilities of colour in drawing, expressing a visual imagination that both integrates and enhances Moore’s practice in three dimensions. Including examples of his best-known works (such as the Shelter drawings and the large ‘presentation’ works from the 1930s) alongside more informal and experimental pieces, the exhibition covers Moore’s entire career, casting new light onto this lesser known but enduring aspect of his art and showing how it could cross-fertilise other areas of his work.