A couple of weeks ago, towards the end of the school summer holidays I was fortunate enough to choose a day out which was able to keep my son entertained, and myself indulged in my passion for the sculptor Henry Moore. A rare feat!
We are lucky enough to live about 10 minutes drive away from the world famous sculptor and artist’s former home, Hoglands, in Perry Green, Hertfordshire. I have only visited once before, in 2010 on my birthday; a scorching hot day and thoroughly enjoyable. One of those “perfect days” you never forget.
So a fortnight ago, once the decision was made, it was a similarly sunny day and hence perfect conditions to view the sculptures. The week before I’d also seen Moore’s works at the Rijksmuseum during my all-too-brief, but highly enjoyable weekend in one of my favourite places, Amsterdam, so my interest was re-kindled.
I particularly wanted to go to Hoglands at this time because works by Auguste Rodin, the famous French sculptor were also on display in a rare joint exhibition. Rodin is best known for his “Ballet Dancer” piece and I wanted to not only explore and familiarise myself with his works more closely, but also to compare and contrast with Moore’s more modernistic style of work, which is fifty years apart from Rodin’s, and in a completely different artistic style.
The two sculptors however made perfect bedfellows and their works seems to complement each other in the extensive grounds of Hoglands. Another reason for visiting was that there was a “Clay Workshop” which I thought would be right up my son’s street. He’s quite the little artist and has inherited some of my creativity.
When we arrived there, just after 11am when it opened we parked in an already half full field designated as the car park. The layout of Hoglands has changed since I was last there. Extra buildings and a new arrangement of some of the sculptures. My son commandeered the layout map and so in an attempt to make it fun for him, we set off on our “cultural treasure hunt”, spotting which statutes were which, who the sculptor was (an easy choice of Rodin or Moore!), and taking photos of him with each statue as he pointed at it on the map.
We had lots of fun, not least in the infamous sheep field (a game of “dodge the sheep poo” ensued!) as we walked across the several acre field to view Large Reclining Figure at closer vantage point. I’d seen exactly the same sculpture at the Rijksmuseum the week before (pictured above) in such different surroundings, and in doing so it provoked a completely different reaction in me. Proof that art is worthwhile if it stirs the soul, or provokes some kind of a reaction (even a negative reaction). Art that doesn’t inspire has failed on some kind of level.
If you live in the area I’d thoroughly recommend the Rodin/Moore Exhibition. Its a great day out and its open until
27 October, and open Wednesday to Sunday from 11am – 5pm. You can find all you need to know about it here : http://www.henry-moore.org/pg
And some reviews of the exhibition here: