|Dame Barbara Hepworth|
Hepworth in 1966
|Born||Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth
10 January 1903
Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire
|Died||20 May 1975
St. Ives, Cornwall
|Education||Leeds School of Art, Royal College of Art|
|Movement||Modernism, Abstract art|
Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE (10 January 1903 – 20 May 1975) was an English artist and sculptor. Her work exemplifies Modernism and in particular modern sculpture. She was "one of the few women artists to achieve international prominence." Along with artists such as Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo, Hepworth was a leading figure in the colony of artists who resided in St. Ives during the Second World War.
Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth was born on 10 January 1903 in Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire, the eldest child of Gertrude and Herbert Hepworth. Her father was a civil engineer for the West Riding County Council, who in 1921 became County Surveyor. An upwardly mobile family, and a dominant father determined her to exploit fully her natural talents. She attended Wakefield Girls High School, and won a scholarship to and studied at the Leeds School of Art from 1920. It was there that she met her fellow student, Henry Moore. They became friends and established a friendly rivalry that lasted professionally for many years. Hepworth was the first to sculpt the pierced figures that are characteristic of works by both. They would lead in the path to modernism in sculpture.
Ever self-conscious as a woman in a man's world, she then won a county scholarship to the Royal College of Art and studied there from 1921 until she was awarded the diploma of the Royal College of Art in 1924.
Following her studies at the RCA, Hepworth travelled to Florence, Italy in 1924 on a West Riding Travel Scholarship. Hepworth was also the runner-up for the Prix-de-Rome, which the sculptor John Skeaping won. After travelling together through Siena and Rome, Hepworth married Skeaping on 13 May 1925 in Florence. In Italy, Hepworth learned how to carve marble from the master sculptor, Giovanni Ardini. Hepworth and Skeaping returned to London in 1926, where they exhibited their works together from their flat. Their son Paul was born in London in 1929. Her early work was highly interested in abstraction and art movements on the continent. In 1933, Hepworth travelled to France with Ben Nicholson, where they visited the studios of Jean Arp, Pablo Picasso, and Constantin Brâncuşi. Hepworth later became involved with the Paris-based art movement, Abstraction-Création. In 1933, Hepworth co-founded the Unit One art movement with the artists Paul Nash and Ben Nicholson, critic Herbert Read, and the architect Wells Coates. The movement sought to unite Surrealism and abstraction in British art.
Hepworth also helped raise awareness of continental artists amongst the British public. In 1937 she designed the layout for Circle: An International Survey of Constructivist Art, a 300-page book that surveyed Constructivist artists and that was published in London and edited by Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo, and Leslie Martin.
Hepworth married the painter Ben Nicholson on 17 November 1938 at Hampstead Register Office, following his divorce from his wife Winifred. The couple had triplets in 1934, Rachel, Sarah, and Simon. Rachel and Simon also became artists. The couple would divorce in 1951.
Hepworth, her husband Ben Nicholson and their children first visited Cornwall at the outbreak of World War II in 1939.
Hepworth lived in Trewyn Studios in St. Ives from 1949 until her death in 1975. Hepworth said that "Finding Trewyn Studio was sort of magic. Here was a studio, a yard, and garden where I could work in open air and space." St. Ives had become a refuge for many artists during the war. On 8 February 1949, Hepworth and Nicholson co-founded the Penwith Society of Arts at the Castle Inn; nineteen artists were founding members, including Peter Lanyon and Bernard Leach. 
Hepworth was also a skilled draughtsman. After her daughter Sarah was hospitalized in 1944, she struck up a close friendship with the surgeon Norman Capener. At Capener's invitation, she was invited to view surgical procedures and, between 1947-1949, she produced nearly eighty drawings of operating rooms in chalk, ink, and pencil. Hepworth was fascinated by the similarities between surgeons and artists, stating: "There is, it seems to me, a close affinity between the work and approach of both physicians and surgeons, and painters and sculptors."
In 1950, works by Hepworth were exhibited in the British Pavilion at the XXV Venice Biennale alongside works by Matthew Smith and John Constable. The 1950 Biennale was the last time that contemporary British artists were exhibited alongside artists from the past.
During this period, Hepworth moved away from working only in stone or wood and began to work with bronze. Hepworth often used her garden in St. Ives, which she designed with her friend the composer Priaulx Rainier, to view her large-scale bronzes.
Death of son Paul
Her eldest son, Paul, was killed on 13 February 1953 in a plane crash while serving with the Royal Air Force in Thailand. A memorial to him, Madonna and Child, is in the parish church of St. Ives.
When Hepworth returned to St.Ives from Greece in August 1954, she found that Gardiner had sent her a large shipment of Nigerian Guarea hardwood. Although she received only a single tree trunk, Hepworth noted that the shipment from Nigeria to the Tilbury docks came in at 17 tons. Between 1954-1956 Hepworth sculpted six pieces out of Guarea wood, many of which were inspired by her trip to Greece, such as "Corinthos" (1954) and "Curved Form (Delphi)" (1955).
The artist greatly increased her studio space when she purchased the Palais de Danse, a cinema and dance studio, that was across the street from Trewyn in 1960. She used this new space to work on large-scale commissions.
Hepworth also experimented with lithography in her late career. She produced two lithographic suites with the Curwen Gallery and its director Stanley Jones, one in 1969 and one in 1971. The latter was entitled "The Aegean Suite" (1971) and was inspired by Hepworth's trip to Greece in 1954 with Margaret Gardiner. The artist also produced a set of lithographs entitled "Opposing Forms" (1970) with Marlborough Fine Art in London.
Barbara Hepworth died in an accidental fire at her Trewyn studios on May 20, 1975 at the age of 72.
Galleries holding her work
Her work also may be seen at:
- The University of Birmingham,
- St. Catherine's College, Oxford,
- The School of Music at Cardiff University,
- Yorkshire Sculpture Park in West Bretton, West Yorkshire
- Clare College,
- Churchill College
- Murray Edwards College (formerly New Hall), Cambridge
- Snape Maltings, Snape, Suffolk
- On the facade of the John Lewis department store, part of the John Lewis Partnership, on Oxford Street (see photograph)
- The Mander Centre, Wolverhampton (removed 2014)
- Kenwood House
- Outside the Norwich Playhouse
- On the grounds of Winchester Cathedral next to The Pilgrims' School
- Leeds Art Gallery
- Tate Gallery
- Kröller-Müller Museum
- Pier Art Gallery in Stromness
- Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, New Zealand
Marble portrait heads dating from London, ca. 1927, of Barbara Hepworth by John Skeaping, and of Skeaping by Hepworth, are documented by photograph in the Skeaping Retrospective catalogue, but are both believed to be lost.
In 1951 Hepworth was commissioned by the Arts Council to create a piece for the Festival of Britain. The resulting work featured two Irish limestone figures entitled, "Contrapuntal Forms" (1950), which was displayed on London's South Bank. To complete the large-scale piece Hepworth hired her first assistants, Terry Frost, Denis Mitchell, and John Wells.
From 1949 onwards she worked with assistants, sixteen in all. One of her most prestigious works is Single Form, which was made in memory of her friend and collector of her works, the former Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld, and which stands in the plaza of the United Nations building in New York City. It was commissioned by Jacob Blaustein, a former United States delegate to the U.N., in 1961 following Hammarskjöld's death in a plane crash.
On 20 December 2011, her 1969 sculpture Two Forms (Divided Circle) was stolen, from its plinth in Dulwich Park, South London, suspicions are that the theft was by scrap metal thieves. The piece, which had been in the park since 1970, was insured for £500,000, a spokesman for Southwark Council said.
One of the edition of six of her 1964 bronze sculpture, Rock Form (Porthcurno), was removed from the Mander Centre in Wolverhampton in the spring of 2014 by its owners, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Dalancey Estates. Its sudden disappearance led to questions in Parliament in Sept. 2014. Paul Uppal, Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West said: “When the Rock Form was donated by the Mander family, it was done so in the belief it would be enjoyed and cherished by the people of Wolverhampton for generations… It belongs to, and should be enjoyed by, the City of Wolverhampton.”
Hepworth was awarded the Grand Prix at the 1959 Sāo Paolo Bienal. She also was awarded the Freedom of St. Ives award in 1968 as an acknowledgment of her significant contributions to the town. She was awarded honorary degrees from Birmingham (1960), Leeds (1961), Exeter (1966), Oxford (1968), London (1970), and Manchester (1971). She was appointed CBE in 1958 and DBE in 1965. In 1973 she was elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
List of selected works
|1932–33||Seated Figure||lignum vitae|
|1933||Two Forms||alabaster and limestone|
|1934||Mother and Child||Cumberland alabaster|
|1935||Three Forms||Seravezza marble|
|1936||Ball Plane and Hole||lignum vitae, mahogany and oak|
|1937||Pierced Hemisphere 1||white marble|
|1940||Sculpture with Colour (Deep Blue and Red)||mixed|
|1943||Oval Sculpture||cast material|
|1943–44||Wave||wood, paint and string|
|1944||Landscape Sculpture||wood (cast in bronze, 1961)|
|1946||Pelagos||wood, paint and string|
|Tides||wood and paint|
|1947||Blue and green (arthroplasty) 31 December 1947||oil and pencil on pressed paperboard|
|1949||Operation: Case for Discussion||oil and pencil on pressed paperboard|
|1951||Group I (Concourse) 4 February 1951||Serravezza marble|
|1954–55||Two Figures||teak and paint|
|1955||Oval Sculpture (Delos)||scented guarea wood and paint|
|1956||Curved Form (Trevalgan)||bronze (see external link to collection of Margaret Gardiner)|
|1956||Orpheus (Maquette), Version II||brass and cotton string|
|Stringed Figure (Curlew), Version II||brass and cotton string|
|Sea Form (Porthmeor)||bronze|
|1959||Curved form with inner form – anima||bronze|
|1960||Figure for Landscape||bronze|
|1961||Curved Form (Bryher)||bronze|
|1962–63||Bronze Form (Patmos)||bronze|
|1963-65||Sphere with Inner Form||bronze|
|1964||Rock Form (Porthcurno)||bronze|
|Sea Form (Atlantic)||bronze|
|Oval Form (Trezion)||bronze|
|1966||Figure in a Landscape||bronze on wooden base|
|Four-Square Walk Through||bronze|
|1968||Two Figures||bronze and gold|
|1969||Two Forms (Divided Circle)||bronze|
|1970||Family of Man||bronze|
|1971||The Aegean Suite||series of prints|
|Summer Dance||painted bronze|
|1972||Minoan Head||marble on wooden base|
|Assembly of Sea Forms||white marble
mounted on stainless steel base
|1973?||Conversation with Magic Stones||bronze and silver|
- Gale, Matthew "Artist Biography: Barbara Hepworth 1903-75" Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Barbara Hepworth: Biography. Hepworth Estate. Retrieved 31 January 2014
- Festing, Sally (1995). Barbara Hepworth: A Life of Forms. pp. 10–25.
- Festing, Sally (1995). Barbara Hepworth: A Life of Forms. pp. xviii, 24.
- "Barbara Hepworth". Cornwall County Council. 2007. Archived from the original on 25 October 2007. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
- "Abstraction-Création". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Paul Nash: Modern artist, ancient landscape: Room guide: Unit One: 'A Contemporary Spirit'. Tate Liverpool. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Barbara Hepworth: Single Form 1961. Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Bowness, Alan ([n.d.]). Life and Work. Hepworth Estate. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Riggs, Terry "Artist Biography: Ben Nicholson OM 1894-1982" Tate, Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- About Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. Tate St Ives. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Penwith Society. Cornwall Artists Index. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- "Barbara Hepworth: The Hospital Drawings" Pallant House Gallery, Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- "Timeline: 1950 Group show". British Pavilion in Venice. British Council. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
- Stephens, Chris (1998). Dame Barbara Hepworth: Two Figures (Heroes) 1954. Tate. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- "Selected sculptures: Madonna and Child". Hepworth Estate. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Bowness, Sophie. St. Ives. Hepworth Estate. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Behrman, Pryle. "Fifty Years at the heart of British Printmaking" Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- "Barbara Hepworth: Graphic Works" Hepworth Wakefield, Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Bowness, Alan. "Biography" Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- "Yorkshire’s major new art gallery, opening 21 May 2011". Hepworth Wakefield. Archived from the original on 10 May 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "New Barbara Hepworth gallery opens in Wakefield". BBC News. 21 May 2011. Archived from the original on 21 May 2011.
- Facilities: Art History, Film and Visual Studies; University of Birmingham Retrieved 14 September 2014.
- "Selected sculptures: Figure (Archaean)". Hepworth Estate. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "Selected sculptures: Three Obliques (Walk-In)". Hepworth Estate. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "Selected sculptures: Two Forms (Divided Circle)". Hepworth Estate. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "Selected sculptures: Four-Square (Walk Through)". Hepworth Estate. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "History of Art". Murray Edwards College, Cambridge. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "Commissions: Winged Figure". Hepworth Estate. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "Norwich Sculpture Trails: 2 Around the Cathedral and the Castle". Recording Archive for Public Sculpture in Norfolk and Suffolk. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "Selected sculptures: Construction (Crucifixion)". Hepworth Estate. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "Leeds Art Gallery Online". Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- John Skeaping 1901–80: A Retrospective (exhibition catalogue). London: Arthur Ackermann and Son, 1991, p. 7
- Commissions: Contrapuntal Forms. Hepworth Estate. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Festing, Sally (1995). Barbara Hepworth: A Life of Forms. pp. xx, 185–6, 197, 214, 219–20.
- "Commissions: Single Form". Hepworth Estate. Retrieved January 2014.
- MacCarthy, Fiona."The ambition of Barbara Hepworth" The Guardian, Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Fact Sheet: History of United Nations Headquarters Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- "Barbara Hepworth sculpture stolen from Dulwich park". BBC News. 20 December 2011. Retrieved January 2014.
- The London Gazette: . 4 June 1965. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- Deceased Members: Deceased Foreign Honorary Members. American Academy of Arts and Letters. Retrieved 31January 2014.
- "Our Journey" Hepworth Wakefield, Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- Penelope Curtis, Barbara Hepworth. Tate Publishing, ISBN 1-85437-225-4.
- Barbara Hepworth, Hepworth, Barbara: A Pictorial Autobiography. Tate Publishing, ISBN 1-85437-149-5.
- Sally Festing, Barbara Hepworth: A Life of Forms, 1995, ISBN 9780670843039; Penguin, 1996, ISBN 9780140166729
- Media related to Barbara Hepworth at Wikimedia Commons
- Quotations related to Barbara Hepworth at Wikiquote
- Barbara Hepworth in the Tate Collection
- Archival material relating to Barbara Hepworth listed at the UK National Archives
- Barbara Hepworth's Sculpture Records, 1925-1975