As a schoolboy, Moore showed a talent for art but was encouraged by his family to train as a teacher, as they feared he would not make a great living at what they considered manual labour. Moore found little pleasure in teaching, however, and signed up to serve in the British Army during World War I. He was exposed to a gas attack by German forces at the Battle of Cambrai and was invalided from his service.
“If God were ‘Almighty’, the things I saw and experienced, the great bloodshed and the pain, the insufferable agony and depravity, the tears and the inhuman devilishness of the war, would, could never have been,” Moore penned to a friend between 1919 and 1920.
In 1919, thanks to an ex-serviceman's grant, Moore became a student at the Leeds School of Art. He went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London in 1921, where he later became a teacher and met Irina Radetsky, whom he married in 1929.
Moore received many commissions from his exhibitions in the 1930s, which allowed him to build a reputation as a leading avant-garde artist. Unfortunately, in 1939 war broke out again, curtailing all art exhibitions. However, Moore was fortunate to be recruited as an official war artist and produced his now famous drawings of people sheltering in the London Underground during the Blitz.
Marlborough Gallery, London Private Collection UK, acquired from the above in 1981. Sothebys London, Impressionist and Modern Paintings and Sculpture, 24 June 1986 Lot 62. Acquired at the above sale. Private Collection UK.
Henry Moore: Sculptures, Drawings, Graphics 1921-1981 (exhibition catalogue), Palacio de Velazquez, Palacio de Cristal & Parquet de El Retiro, Madrid, 1981, no. 620, illustration of another cast p. 297 Alan Bowness, ed., Henry Moore, Sculpture and Drawings, vol. V, London, 1983, no. 733, illustrations of another cast p. 37, pls. 136-37