Henrique Araújo Moreira was born in Avintes, Vila Nova de Gaia, on 9 May 1890. He was from a humble family. His father, Manuel de Araújo Moreira, was a wooden barrel maker and his mother, Josefa da Silva, a pork seller in Magarão. Both his parents later became grocers in Cabanões (nowadays 5 de Outubro Street), in Avintes.
During his childhood, Henrique attended the Primary School in Cabanões, where he revealed a natural talent for drawing. He sat his primary school exams in Porto. He used to recall the days when his favourite hobbies consisted of drawing doll shapes and modelling clay figures.
After completing his primary studies, he worked in his father’s store but, unlike his brothers Joaquim and Cesário, he was not seduced by the family business as his passion was drawing. He was also a shoemaker and image maker apprentice.
1905, at the age of fifteen, he was admitted to the Porto Academy of Fine Arts. He soon became known at this school, which was then located within the cloisters of the Santo António convent in the city (nowadays the Municipal Public Library of Porto). He completed the equivalent to two years of schooling in the first year at this school, and six years later completed the course with a final mark of 17 out of 20.
In the Fine Arts Course, he was taught by José de Brito, António Teixeira Lopes, Sousa Pinto and Marques da Silva, and was a fellow colleague of sculptors Diogo de Macedo, António de Azevedo, Zeferino Couto, Sousa Caldas, Manuel Martins and Azulina Gouveia, painters Joaquim Lopes, Heitor Cramez and Armando Basto, and architects Manuel and Francisco Marques.
After completing his undergraduate degree, he worked at the workshop run by Master Teixeira Lopes, and a few years later he followed his own path.
On 29 November 1913, he married Adelina Campos Nunes, from his home town, in the Parish Church of Avintes, with Joaquim de Oliveira Lopes and wife acting as his godparents, and Teixeira Lopes and his nephew Maciel as his witnesses. The couple lived their first years of marriage in Vila Nova de Gaia (at his in-laws’ house, at Rua da Rasa, Serra do Pilar, and in Candal). They later moved to Porto, to the Foz do Douro area, and finally to Antunes Guimarães Avenue. The couple had five children.
His entire life was dedicated to the production of sculptures in Portugal (he travelled only to Spain). Although he was often invited by his friend Sousa Caldas to lecture at the Faria Guimarães School, he declined the offers alleging that the strict school timetables would affect his work.
Much of his work can be admired all over Portugal (a monument to the Baker of Avintes, and the torsos of Engineer Arantes de Oliveira and of Calouste Gulbenkian, in Avintes, Vila Nova de Gaia; the statue of Ferreira de Castro and Our Lady of La Salette, in Oliveira de Azeméis; the Memorial to the Dead of the First World War; the statue of the Earl Dias Garcia, in S. João da Madeira; the statue of Cristóvão Colombo, in Funchal; the memorial to Admiral Jaime Afreixo, in Murtosa; the statue of Father Saúde, in Sandim; the statue of António Cândido, in Amarante; the statue of Prince Henry, in Tomar; a sculpture dedicated to the Fire-fighter, in Barcelos; four embossed works for the Celebration Hall of the Pavilion by brothers Rebelo de Andrade for the Ibero-American Exhibition held in Seville, in 1929; he participated in the decorations of the Pavilion by Raul Lino for the International and Colonial Exhibition of Paris, in 1931; etc.), and for Angola (Stone memorial to the Dead of the First World War, located in the Lusíadas Square). Yet, the most significant part of his vast work was produced for the city of Porto, and he is therefore rightly considered as the "sculpture of Porto". Some of his hallmark pieces of work include the torso of Camilo Castelo Branco, erected in Camilo Avenue ; A Juventude (Youth), commonly known as Menina da Avenida (The Young Girl in the Avenue); Os Meninos (The Young Boys), in Aliados Avenue; O Salva-vidas or Lobo-do-mar (The Old Seadog); the tribute monument to Raul Brandão, in Foz do Douro; the statue of Padre Américo, in the República Garden and the Memorial to the dead of the Peninsular War, in Boavista Square.
His work is figurative, academic and centered on the representation of distinguished and popular individuals, and has won him several awards and distinctions, such as the Gold Medal at the Ibero-American Exhibition held in Seville, in 1929, several prizes at the National Society for Fine Arts (1916, 1917 and 1935), the Soares dos Reis Award, in 1963, the Gold Medal from the city of Porto, and the Medal of Honour from the town of Avintes.
He died in Porto on 16 February 1979, and is buried in the Agramonte Cemetery.
(Universidade Digital / Gestão de Informação, 2009)