Sculptors Moore, Rodin meet in English country garden

MUCH HADHAM, England Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:05am EDT

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MUCH HADHAM, England (Reuters) - Nestled in the idyllic English countryside just north of London, the home of British sculptor Henry Moore is playing host to one of France's most revered artists, Auguste Rodin, for the first time.

Rodin, renowned the world over for works like his bronze "The Thinker" and "The Kiss" made from marble, will be displayed alongside Moore in a new exhibition that explores the parallels and differences between the two sculptors.

"With both Moore and Rodin, there's a fundamental humanism that underpins their work and you really notice that when you walk through the grounds," said curator Anita Feldman.

The charming setting of Perry Green, Moore's family home and studio for more than 40 years until his death in 1986, boasts 70 acres of gardens where visitors can admire works by the two titans of 19th and 20th century sculpture standing side-by-side.

Amongst those on show is Rodin's "The Burghers of Calais", a sculpture usually seen close to London's Houses of Parliament which Moore is known to have held in high regard, as well as "Adam", "Walking Man" and "Jean d'Aire" all on loan from the Musee Rodin in Paris.

The works are paired alongside Moore's "Seated Woman", "The Arch" and "Upright Motive", underlining their common preoccupation with the human form and the concept of portraying pressure and tension coming from within the sculpture.

More than 60 sculptures are also housed inside the Henry Moore Foundation gallery, as well as sketches by the artists and a collection of personal objects curated by Moore's only child Mary.

"What I wanted to show was the kind of difference between their collections and how their collections link to their work," Moore told Reuters.

Several models of body parts, such as Rodin's "Walking Man, Large Torso" which Henry Moore greatly admired and photographed extensively, show how both Rodin and Moore were interested in the fragmented human figure.

"They had entirely differently approaches, but all sculptors are interested in three dimensional forms - expressing it and understanding it, and to that extent, I think you can find many similarities," said Moore, whose favorite piece was a maquette for her father's "Locking Piece".

"It's actually based on a kind of toy which my father remembers in his childhood ... in this locking piece, where the two pieces rest upon each other, it's meant to give this dynamic fusion, the sense of explosion but also condensation of power."

The exhibition will run from March 29 until October 27, before moving to the Compton Verney art gallery and grounds in Warwickshire, central England.

Moore hopes the exhibition will give visitors the appetite to go and explore sculptures by both artists and by other people in different settings.

"I hope that it will open their eyes to the three-dimensional experience that sculpture gives you instead of the two-dimensional experience of painting, or a movie or a video screen."

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