Forms in Bronze: The Work of Henry Moore

As one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century, Henry Moore often used his sculptural work to explore landscape and the human form. With our design deeply rooted in a respect for nature, Moore’s art is an innate fit to our beliefs and passions at Optima.

To honor this connection, we look back on his life and its work.

The Life of Henry Moore

Henry Moore was born July 30, 1898 in Castleford, Yorkshire, lucky number seven to a household of eight children. Moore’s father was a miner, looking to help his children escape poverty by seeking advanced education — he believed that pursuing art and sculpture was just another form of manual labor with few career prospects. And while Moore displayed an affinity for and interest in the arts at school, he was nonetheless pushed in the direction of a teaching career. 

On his eighteenth birthday, Moore enlisted in the British Army during World War I. A gas attack injury forced his honorable discharge, and led to an ex-serviceman’s grant that allowed him to pursue an education in the arts. In 1919 he became a student at Leeds College of Art and in 1921 continued his education at the Royal College of Art in London. 

Ironically, Moore did end up teaching at the college, and it was there that he met his wife. Eventually, the two moved to a farmhouse in Perry Green, Hertfordshire, where Moore was able to further explore landscape, nature and the female form in his sculpture.

Henry Moore, Maquette for UNESCO Reclining Figure, 1957
Henry Moore, Maquette for UNESCO Reclining Figure, 1957

The Art of Henry Moore

Moore was a driving force in the English Surrealist movement, although he was also inspired by the primitive forms that he saw as a schoolboy at the British Museum, citing Mexican, Egyptian and African sculptural influences. 

His work was also undeniably influenced by nature, landscape and the female form — the softly undulating curves found within his sculptures are reminiscent of the lulling hillside of his birthplace, Castlefor, and his sculptures are always abstractions of the human figure that typically depict mother-and-child relationships or reclining bodies.

One of Moore’s most famous works, Recumbent Figure 1938, was commissioned for the terrace of a modernist house in the Sussex countryside. Moore said of the sculpture, “My figure… became a mediator between modern house and ageless land.” His wood and bronze sculptures set apart by their curves, hollows and piercings, evoking the feeling of objects that were both ancient and modern all at once in their influence and form. 

Because of his connection to nature and to Modern abstraction, Moore is indeed a beautiful mediator between natural and built environments, something we too strive to achieve through our projects.

The Work of Joan Miró

It’s no secret that we love color. We believe that color, like art, brings a new dimension to the beautiful spaces that we design. That’s why the colorful and surrealist work of the Spanish painter, Joan Miró, is a natural fit to enliven the walls of our communities.

Portrait of Joan Miró
Portrait of Joan Miró

The Life of Joan Miró

Miró was born in 1893 in the seaside town of Barcelona. He grew up influenced by the beauty and culture of his city, and surrounded by the arts with a watchmaker father and goldsmith mother. His began drawing as a young child, though he diverted from his true calling when he went to business school for college. After school, Miró worked as a clerk, but quickly found his way back to art, evolving through several styles and artists’ circles and leaving an influential mark in his wake. 

The Art of Joan Miró

Miró’s early work was inspired by Vincent van Goh and Paul Cezanne. By 1919 and his first trip to Paris, Miró began to dabble in geometric, patterned art inspired by the Cubists. In the early 1920s, Miró began to draw inspiration from Sigmund Freud and the Marxists, joining the ranks of the groundbreaking surrealists with work marked by lines, organic shapes and color. Miró himself once said, “I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.”

The Red Sun, 1950, Joan Miró at Optima Sonoran Village
The Red Sun, 1950, Joan Miró at Optima Sonoran Village

We are proud to enliven our interior spaces with the art of Joan Miró, and are deeply moved by the power of his works and words. Miró’s work adorns the walls of a handful of units at Optima Sonoran Village, playing off the lively interiors and lush outside landscape. Like Miró, we too, try to apply colors, and art, to shape the beautiful spaces that we design.

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