A NEW exhibition featuring the works of documentary photographer Bill Brandt and sculptor Henry Moore has opened at The Hepworth Wakefield.
Bill Brandt/Henry Moore, running until Sunday, May 31, is the first time their work has been exhibited together.
It brings into focus the parallels between the two great artists of the 20th century whose works and careers repeatedly, if unintentionally, overlapped.
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Appropriately for a gallery located in the heart of the former Yorkshire coalfield, the earliest crossover between Brandt and Castleford-born Moore was in their studies of coal mining.
Brandt’s bleak images depict life in the pit communities of 1930s Yorkshire and the Northeast, whilst Moore’s 1940s sketches show men working at Wheldale Colliery in his home town.
The exhibition, organised with the Yale Center for British Art, features a selection of these among more than 200 works ranging from iconic photographs and sculptures to unprinted negatives and rare colour transparencies.
They cover the two artists’ later ventures into landscape photography and drawing, including Moore’s prints of Stonehenge displayed alongside Brandt’s photographs of the ancient monument, comparing how the pair used their media of choice in their attempts to capture the enigmatic spirit of the site.
Other topics include how Moore made use of photography, both to present his three-dimensional work and as a medium in its own right, while Brandt used sculpture both as a photographic subject and as a way of considering nature, landscape and the human body – three of his favourite subjects.
Both men were also avid collectors of found objects for inspiration and as materials, and so the exhibition includes a little-seen sculpture made by Brandt from flotsam and jetsam.
Hepworth director Simon Wallis said: “We are delighted to be working with the Yale Center for British Art on this major exhibition that presents side-by-side for the first time the work of Bill Brandt and Henry Moore.
“These two important artists, born only 10 years apart, were both commissioned by the UK government in the 1930s – Brandt as a photojournalist and Moore as a war artist – and subsequently supported by the British Council, developing significant reputations internationally.
“Both artists had a fascination and poetic sensibility for capturing the spirit of place and it is particularly poignant to be presenting this exhibition in West Yorkshire, where Henry Moore was born and grew up.”
Bill Brandt / Henry Moore is supported by The Henry Moore Foundation, Hiscox and The Hepworth Wakefield Contemporary Circle