In recent years there’s been a resurgence of scholarly interest in the British sculptor Henry Moore (1898–1986), offering new insights and fresh interpretations. First came Tate Britain’s 2010 retrospective, which for the first time probed some of the deeper currents flowing through his art. (The catalogue spoke of work “redolent with morbid and sexual energy.”) The latest example is “Becoming Henry Moore,” devoted to the artist’s formative years.1 This was the period when Moore embraced the modernist aesthetic of direct carving and “truth to materials”; studied and assimilated non-Western sculpture in the British Museum and other public collections as an alternative to the exhausted...


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