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Moore figures

On the 100th anniversary of Henry Moore's birth, Anthony Barnett asks what the sculptor's reclining figures meant

When the Labour government came to power in May 1997 it launched a cultural offensive. A new Britain was to be projected on to the world. Some of us were reminded of the way Harold Wilson’s government caught the winds of swinging London in the mid-1960s and used them to blow out its empty sails. But as Wilson bandwagoned trendiness, he cold shouldered a British artist who was this country’s (and perhaps the world’s) most successful sculptor of the time, Henry Moore. This seems especially surprising, as Moore came from a classic Labour background-the seventh child of a Yorkshire miner-and…

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