Henry Moore Comes Home, a new exhibition of prints by Henry Moore, one of the best-loved UK artists of the 20th century, opened at the British Council’s headquarters in London on 1 December 2015.

Henry Moore Comes Home builds on the two-year tour of another exhibition, Henry Moore – the Printmaker that previously visited Albania where it was on display at the National Gallery in Tirana from 15 September – 25 October 2013.

During the tour to Albania and six other countries, Henry Moore – the Printmaker was seen by a total of 80,000 people, and revealed personal stories of local artists, curators, visitors and museums that have been influenced by Henry Moore over the past seven decades. Henry Moore Comes Home explores the artist’s enduring international influence, as well as the main themes that can be found in Henry Moore’s graphics and sculpture.

Imprisoned for Henry Moore

Albanian artist, architect and writer Maks Velo was imprisoned for eight years by Albania’s communist regime for his ‘modernist tendencies’ back in 1970s. In his interview to the British Council, the artist recalled how he had been influenced by Moore’s work and why it still made a profound impression on him today.

In 1972, a friend secretly gave me a book containing pictures of Henry Moore’s work. This was the time in communist Albania when merely owning a book showing Western ‘decadent’ art was a considerable risk. That was the first time I saw Moore’s drawings, prints and sculptures, and I was deeply affected.

In 1978, I was arrested and interrogated for six months after being accused of ‘modernist tendencies’ such as being influenced by Henry Moore’s art. The communist regime regarded Western contemporary art as an attack on Socialist Realism, the only officially approved form of art in Albania. My entire collection of paintings, sculptures and collectibles was brutally destroyed. I was released from prison eight years later, in 1986, and sent to work in a factory in Tirana.

In early 1990s I had a studio in Montmartre, Paris. In June 1992 there was a huge outdoor exhibition of 36 sculptures by Moore. I was so impressed that even today I can see his sculptures clearly in my mind. 

For me, Moore’s work is full of harmony, tranquillity and perfection.

from Maks Velo’s interview to British Council Voices, April 2014