Sculptural Citizens | Henry Moore's Harlow Family Group
This exhibition explores the history of the Harlow Family Group, one of Henry Moore’s most significant commissions and earliest additions to Harlow’s nationally significant sculpture collection which today numbers over 90 public artworks.
Henry Moore (1898-1986) was a British sculptor and leading figure in the international art scene who had a remarkable career spanning five decades. Harlow Art Trust commissioned the work in 1953 as part of a wider project ensuring residents had access to high quality art on their doorstep.
Bringing together maquettes, photographs and archive material not seen together before, the first half of the exhibition looks to the history of the commission and the various ways Moore responded to the subject of the family group in the wake of the Second World War.
The resulting sculpture has been sited at the entrance to the Gibberd Gallery since 2004. It has been remarkably mobile over its near 70-year history, occupying three different sites within the town itself as well as travelling nationally. The second half explores the life and legacy of the sculpture through these locations. The story of how it has come to be regarded as an important focal point in the town is told through personal photographs kindly shared by residents, press cuttings and archive material. Shown together, they demonstrate the many ways the people of Harlow have made the sculpture their own.
Visitors are also encouraged to share their own images and recollections with us to continue to map the influence of the artwork. A programme of related events will be announced shortly.
The exhibition is curated by Kate Harding, Artistic Director of Harlow Art Trust.
The project has been made possible with funds raised by the Friends of Harlow Sculpture and Gibberd Gallery and Essex Heritage Trust and the generous support of the Henry Moore Foundation.