Details & Cataloguing

Modern & Post-War British Art


Dame Barbara Hepworth
signed, dated 1966, numbered 4/7 and stamped with Morris Singer foundry mark
height: 135cm.; 53 in.
Conceived in 1963-4 and cast in 1966, the present work is number 4 from an edition of 7 plus 1.
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The Estate of the Artist
Ashley D. Hoffman, New York, purchased through Marlborough Fine Art, London, June 1983
Sale, Sotheby's New York, 8th May 1991, lot 224, where acquired by the family of the present owner, and thence by descent 



London, Gimpel Fils, Barbara Hepworth, 2nd - 27th June 1964, cat. no.28 (included in the catalogue but not shown);
London, Gimpel Fils, Barbara Hepworth, 25th May - 20th June 1966, cat. no.2 (another cast);
Arnhem, Sonsbeek Park, Fifth International Sculpture Exhibition, May - September 1966, cat. no.99 (another cast);
London, Tate Gallery, Barbara Hepworth: Retrospective 1927-67, 3rd April - 19th May 1968, cat. no.131 (another cast);
London, Syon Park, Barbara Hepworth, May - September 1968 (another cast);
Bath, Bath Festival, St Ives Group Exhibition, June 1969 (another cast, details untraced);
Cornwall, Penwith Gallery, Spring Exhibition, 1969, cat. no.2 (another cast);
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Barbara Hepworth: Recent Work, Sculpture, Paintings, Prints,  February - March 1970, cat. no.3, illustrated p.13 (another cast);
Uttoxeter, Abbotsholme, Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture and Lithographs, January - February 1970, cat. no.12, with Arts Council tour.


Warren Forma, 5 British Sculptors (Work and Talk), Grossman Publishers, New York, 1964, illustrated pp.11,14 and 19 (working model);
Alan Bowness (ed.), The Complete Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth, 1960-69, Lund Humphries, London, 1971, cat. no.331, illustrated pl.64 (another cast);
W. J. Strachan, Open Structure in Britain: A Comprehensive Guide, Tate Gallery, London, 1984, cat. no.384, illustrated (another cast);
Penelope Curtis and Alan G. Wilkinson, Barbara Hepworth: A Retrospective, (exh. cat.), Tate Gallery Publications, Liverpool, 1994, p.134, illustrated (another cast).

Описание в каталоге

The 1950s and early 1960s was perhaps a period of reassessment for Barbara Hepworth. She was chosen to represent Britain at the 1950 Venice Biennale, was awarded the Grand Prix at the São Paolo Biennale in 1959, and embarked upon a series of important commissions for public sculpture, including Winged Figure (John Lewis, Oxford Circus, 1961-2) and Single Form (United Nations, New York, 1961-4). Always ambitious however, she was continually pushing towards the next level, and focusing on the medium of bronze was one way in which she sought to do this - as it not only allowed her to distribute casts to collections around the world, but it also allowed her to send her pieces out on exhibition without the fear that they would return irreparably damaged. Bronze allowed Hepworth to undertake large sculptures intended for placement in an outdoor setting, which she had desired to do for some time. In a letter to Ben Nicholson she writes:

‘You never liked arrogant sculptures nor fierce forms- but I do. I have deliberately studied the photos of my early dreams of large works done in 1938-39 in maquette form…It has taken 25yrs to find the space time and money; and meanwhile those dreams have matured and so have my abilities. This is not retrograde - it is for me, a fulfilment of my life long ideas…’ (Barbara Hepworth, quote reproduced in Curtis and Wilkinson, op. cit., p.141)

Of primary importance to Hepworth was a retention of the tactile element of carving and making when considering bronze as a medium. This is undoubtedly the case in the present work, which was initially constructed using a metal frame of stacked squares and then lusciously applied with plaster using a putty knife (fig.1). The composition is geometric, erect, and open, allowing light to play across the furrowed, textural planes of the squares, stream through the piercings, and pool in the recessed circles. As the sun moves around the piece, the pattern of the squares is shadowed on its totemic pair, creating interest and variety in immeasurable forms. Hepworth has paid particular attention to the finish of the bronze - the patina highlighting the rich texture and shifting from grey to green depending on the play of light.

We are grateful to Dr Sophie Bowness for her kind assistance in cataloguing the present work.

Modern & Post-War British Art