Barbara Hepworth

Summary

Dame Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth DBE († May 20, 1975 in St Ives in Cornwall, England) was an important British sculptor.

Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth was the eldest child of Herbert and Gertrude Hepworth. She attended the Girl”s High School in Wakefield and subsequently studied (1920

No art dealer at that time wanted to take the risk of exhibiting the early works of two unknown artists. The two therefore held their first exhibition in their studio at the end of 1927, through which they came into contact with personalities and art collectors who were important to them. This was followed a year later by another exhibition at the Beaux-Arts Gallery in London, together with John Skeaping and the painter William E. C. Morgan. In 1931 Hepworth met Ben Nicholson, with whom she became a member of the Seven and Five Society, a group of seven painters and five sculptors who wanted to bring new impulses to art. (The group disbanded in 1934). That same year, Hepworth separated from Skeaping to live and work with Nicholson. The two took a trip to France in 1933, where they met Hans Arp, Constantin Brâncuși, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Braque. Important exhibitions during this period were in London, Liverpool, Manchester and Belfast. In October 1934 the triplets Simon, Rachel and Sarah were born.

The following years were marked by exhibitions and intensive collaboration with other artists such as Ben Nicholson, Paul Nash and Henry Moore. A small circle of interested art connoisseurs and critics took a liking to the work of the young artists around Hepworth and Moore, who swam against the mainstream and attracted more and more attention.

In 1936 the Abstract&Concrete exhibition was opened in Oxford. It featured works by Mondrian, Kandinsky, Arp, Giacometti, Miró, Calder, Moholy-Nagy, Nicholson, Hepworth, Moore and others. That same year, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, purchased Hepworth”s first sculpture.

In April 1938 she exhibited in an exhibition of abstract art at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. In September, Piet Mondrian, a friend, moved from Paris to London, and Nicholson and Hepworth were instrumental in finding him lodgings. It was very close to their own studio on Parkhill Road. After Nicholson divorced his wife Winifred, she married him in November of that year. A year later they took up residence in St Ives in Cornwall, where a center of abstract art called the Penwith Society of Artists formed around the couple. Many more exhibitions followed. Among them was the first retrospective in Leeds in 1943. In 1949 Hepworth bought the Trewyn Studio in St. Ives, where she lived until her death. She divorced Nicholson in October 1951.

Barbara Hepworth was a participant in the 1950 Venice Biennale, documenta 1 (1955) and documenta II in 1959 in Kassel. From her comes the sculpture Single Form, created in the sixties and commemorating UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld. For her large bronze casts, Hepworth acquired the Palais de Danse, a former movie theater and dance studio located across the street from the Trewyn Studio. In 1965, she was ennobled. Ten years later, at age 72, she died in a fire in her studio. This and the adjacent sculpture garden have formed the Barbara Hepworth Museum since 1980. It is under the management of Tate St Ives. Since 2011 there has been another museum dedicated to her art, The Hepworth Wakefield. In 1973 she was elected as an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The works of Hans Arp and Constantin Brâncușis had a great influence on Barbara Hepworth”s oeuvre, and her strongly abstract works reveal parallels to the work of her friend Henry Moore. An example of this period is her 104 cm high figure Hollow Form with White Interior in guarea wood, which was sold at the London auction house Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert in June 2011.

Other works have been on display since May 2011 at The Hepworth Wakefield Museum, whose construction was planned by English architect David Chipperfield in her birthplace of Wakefield. In addition, works by her British contemporaries have been included, including Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland, Paul Nash, Patrick Heron, Walter Sickert and international artists such as Piet Mondrian, Constantin Brâncuși and Alberto Giacometti.

Sources

  1. Barbara Hepworth
  2. Barbara Hepworth