Monday, 28 October 2013

The Moore Rodin Exhibition at Perry Green and Compton Verney

A few years ago now I discovered a gem of a place, hidden away in a tiny English village, where time seems to stand still and all is right with the world. The place I am talking about is the Henry Moore Foundation at Perry Green.

I first visited with friends and , if I am honest with you, I had no real idea about who Henry Moore was. I had a vague vision of big, modern sculptures, but that was it. Since that day I have been several times and each time I learn more about Henry Moore, his work, his life and how his amazing sculptures were created.

Over the summer months the Foundation has been running a superb exhibition featuring the combined work of both Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin. I have been meaning to go and visit all summer, but have never got round to it - what with work and children and life in general. Yesterday morning I woke up and when I looked out of my bedroom window to discover that the weather was dry I seized the bull by the horns and jumped in the car to head off to Perry Green. There was only one day of the exhibition left and I could not bear to miss it.

Moore and Rodin never met, but Moore was a great admirer of Rodin's work and the exhibition cleverly juxtaposes work from both men that shows the connection between them. A comment left at the Musee Rodin in Paris noted, with great insight, that "Moore is Rodin after Cubism". The thing that struck me most as I walked around the leafy grounds of the Foundation was the power of both artists' works. They both capture the "core essence" of the human form.

Monument to the Burghers of Calais - Rodin 1889

Moore considered the bronze sculpture above, Rodin's Monument to the Burghers of Calais to be the best public sculpture in London and I found myself drawn to it, circling around and around, moved by the incredible power of the work. Its hard to explain and probably difficult to convey with only a photograph, but I was so moved by the beauty of this piece.

In particular I found the face and hand of the man above stunningly beautiful. You may laugh, and my husband certainly did, but I found myself fighting back the tears as I studied it. The power of emotion in his face, his hand, is perfect. To achieve this in bronze, to achieve it at all, is a wonder.

Both Rodin and Moore studied the human figure, both fascinated by the human torso and in the inside gallery at Perry Green their works were placed close to each other so one could really see the similarities. A couple of examples that I loved were of torsos. At first glance they may seem totally different, but they both share the same curves. My mind could imagine the stretching muscles of a dancer's body in both ...

Torso of a Young Woman Auguste Rodin 1909
(photo courtesy of The Bridgeman Art Library)

Pointed Torso Henry Moore 1969
(photo courtesy of Juxtapost)

I also loved the artists sculptures of hands ...

Mother and Child Hands Henry Moore 1980

The Cathedral Auguste Rodin 1909

I am not an expert in Art or Sculpture, but I am interested in it and always keen to visit exhibitions.I don't think you have to be an expert to enjoy works of power and beauty, do you? The wonderful thing about the Henry Moore Foundation is that the people who work there are full of incredible information and are so very generous in sharing their knowledge. You get the impression that they love working there, that they see their work as a privilege.

It is possible to visit Moore's workshop and maquette studio and I highly recommend this.Inside the staff explain how each piece was created, from start to finish. In the maquette studio there is a small model or maquette of every single piece Moore ever created. They would sit on the shelves, sometimes for years,before a client would choose one that touched them and Moore would go about creating the full scale work.

Some jump out at you, others nestle quietly.

In this photo you can see the maquettes for The Arch (left foreground) and for the Double Oval ( back wall, second partition from left, on right of second shelf)

Who would guess that inside such unassuming buildings are such magical works of art?

The grounds at Perry Green are extensive and scattered around them were works by both Moore and Rodin. From small scale pieces like Rodin's The Fallen Caryatid with Stone or Moore's Upright Motive No 9 to some of the huge and monumental pieces more often associated with Henry Moore.

Every time I visit they seem different - different light, different skies - always fresh and striking. This time was particularly stunning as the sky was stormy and dramatic.

The Fallen Caryatid with Stone Rodin

Upright Motive No 9 Moore

I love that one can be wandering through an apple orchard one moment, in a sheep field the next and through the trees, at the end of a path, are the most fantastic sculptures. 

Three Piece Reclining Figure Draped Moore 1975

Walking Man on a Column Rodin 1900

If you are reading this and feeling annoyed that you have missed the exhibition ... Do Not Despair!!

The exhibition is moving to Warwickshire and will open on 15th February 2014 at Compton Verney where it will stay until 31st August 2014. If you can make it I would recommend that you do. The Moore Rodin Exhibition is just wonderful.


Anonymous said...

Lovely photos and descriptions.

sarah at secret housewife said...

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it! x

Urban Cynic said...

Henry Moore & Rodin were great artists. I love taking myself off now and again - as you saw I pootled up to see the Pompeii Exhibition at the British Museum recently and I'm intending to see the Elizabeth I & her People exhibition at the National Gallery before it finishes on 5th Jan. I much prefer going to see these things by myself - other people hardly ever appreciate them as much as I do!

Thanks for the lovely photos, you have a good eye and the moody sky made for some great shots. x

Mandy Southgate said...

What a great exhibition. I love that they have juxtaposed these artists who have created in different styles but are so similar in so many ways. I agree with you - the Burghers of Calais is remarkable, especially the lines in the subjects' faces.

sarah at secret housewife said...

Thanks Urban! I prefer going by myself to these things. Its just lovely being able to wander about thinking of noone but myself and enjoying exhibitions completely!
Glad you liked the photos too - the sky was an added bonus gift!

Hi Mandy!
Pleased you liked this post too!It was so interesting to see such similar yet dissimilar pieces put together!