Revered artist said to have slated rival sculptor’s work when Tate board was considering buying it
He is revered as one of the masters of 20th-century British sculpture, but Henry Moore belittled rival artists while promoting himself within the Tate gallery, according to previously unpublished diaries.
In 1945, the Tate’s board was considering whether to purchase a wooden sculpture by Barbara Hepworth. Moore, then a gallery trustee, interjected with the damning words: “If sculpture [was] nothing more than that, it would be a poor affair.” The ploy worked. The Hepworth was rejected by the board, while every one of seven sculptures the Tate bought that year was by none other than Henry Moore. The incident is recorded in the diaries of John Rothenstein, who headed the Tate for 26 years from 1938.