Henry Moore: Modest Michelangelo

Bronze statue created by British sculptor Henry Moore, Behai park, Beijing, China AP

For the first time in nearly two decades, at the Dallas Museum of Art, a Henry Moore collection is on exhibit in the United States, reports CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara. It is 60 years' worth of a man's work, now on a three-city U.S. tour, organized by the Dallas museum's Dorothy Kosinski.

"I'm very excited by the notion of a new generation of the art-going public walking into this exhibition and seeing works that I'm sure they don't know and, therefore, it's a huge voyage of discovery," says Kosinsky. "And, on the other hand, I think it's equally exciting when you think of people who, as I say, are complacent in their approval or disapproval, coming through and being challenged to rethink and re-examine a great artist's career."

Moore's was a career of reclining figures that set him apart from the other great sculptors of his time. Some creations he carved out of elm wood; others, he cast in bronze. His great figures of public art -- the monumental pieces -- brought him both world-wide fame and harsh criticism.

In the spring of 1983, three years before his death, Sunday Morning profiled Henry Moore, at his studio and home outside London. Here was an 86-year-old man, still at work with an assistant, making changes to a piece that would someday be cast in bronze and stand in a Chicago suburb.

Moore was also in the process of converting a 500-year=old barn to display his tapestries. And it was then, too, that Moore told Charles Kuralt about some of the most moving work he ever did: his World War II shelter drawings.

In his sketches of wartime life, in the underground tunnels of London, Moore captured the fear, the sense of impending doom, on nights when German bombers rained death and destruction from the sky.

Said Moore, "I didn't want to be a war artist until there was something to be moved by. I'd seen tanks before. I'd seen army trucks and so on before. But at a later stage, when Hitler was thinking that his only way of saving and winning the war would be to bomb London to blazes, to bits, and he began it with intensive bombings, and I was caught...

"One night," he continued, "when my wife and I had been having dinner in the middle of London, we had to come back by tube...for the first time, I saw all the people sheltering -- the mothers undressing children on the platforms with the trains coming in and going by -- and next morning, I did try to draw some of the things that I'd seen."

Moore actually re-enacted his role as a war artist in a post-war film called "Out of Chaos."

Moore told Kuralt, "And I used to go down each evening and look around, and I'd do just a tiny little sketch, and it really was something unlike anything that I could have imagined, except thinking what the slave ships might have been like, taking Negroes from South Africa across to America."

It was a 1965 CBS News documentary that introducd many Americans to the life and works of Henry Moore, the coal miner's son and art-world revolutionary. The broadcast marked the completion of Moore's massive bronze that today stands as the centerpiece of New York City's Lincoln Center.

Perhaps few Americans knew Henry Moore as well as Dallas real estate developer Raymond Nasher, the collector of a number of Moore sculptures. Nasher and Moore shared a friendship that spanned more than 20 years.

Raymond Nasher was awed by Henry Moore. Not for Moore's fame, but the humility of a man who was legendary even in his own time.

Says Nasher, "He was truly the finest English sculptor of the 20th century. He knew, of course, of his fame, and everyone came from all over the world to want to commissioon major pieces from him. But did he wear it? No, he didn't... He was very gentle, kind, unassuming, and in many instances, you wouldn't realize that this was the Michelangelo of his period."


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