Lot 9
  • 9

Dame Barbara Hepworth

150,000 - 250,000 GBP
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  • Barbara Hepworth
  • Coré
  • numbered 7/7
  • bronze with dark brown patina
  • height (excluding base): 75cm.; 29½in.
  • Conceived in 1955-56, the present work is number 7 from an edition of 7.


London, Gimpel Fils, where acquired by the present owner, 28th May 1968


Manchester City Art Gallery, Northern Artists, July-August 1960, cat. no.27 (another cast), with tour to Sheffield, Newcastle, Bolton, Bradford and Carlisle;
Zurich, Galerie Charles Lienhard, Barbara Hepworth, October 1960, cat. no.2 (another cast);
Cardiff, National Museum of Wales, Sculpture 1961, July-September 1961, cat.no.17 (another cast), with tour to Swansea, Aberystwyth and Bangor;
Welsh Arts Council, Sculpture, 1961;
Farnham, Ashgate Gallery, British Sculpture Today, July 1962, cat. no.42 (another cast);
St Ives, Penwith Society of Arts, Summer Exhibition, Summer 1962, cat. no.116 (another cast);
Zurich, Gimpel Hanover Galerie, Englische Maler und Bildhauer, August-September 1963, cat. no.41 (another cast);
Zurich, Gimpel Hanover Galerie, Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture and Drawings, November 1963-January 1964, cat. no.4b, illustrated (another cast), also shown at Gimpel Fils, London;
Arnhem, 5th Internationale Beeldententoonstelling Sonsbeek '66, May-September 1966, cat. no.97 (another cast);
London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, British Sculpture and Painting from the collection of the Leicestershire Education Authority, December 1967 - January 1968, cat. no.24, illustrated (another cast);
Arts Council, Syon House, 1968 (this cast);
London, Tate Gallery, Barbara Hepworth, 3rd April-19th May 1968, cat. no.76 (cast 3/7 exhibited);
London, New Art Centre, Barbara Hepworth: Ten Sculptures 1951-73, November 1987-January 1988, cat. no.7 (another cast).


J.P. Hodin, Barbara Hepworth, Lund Humphries, 1960, illustrated pls 208 and 209 (marble version);
Abraham Marie Hammacher, Barbara Hepworth, Thames & Hudson, London, 1987, illustrated pl.97 (marble version);
Matthew Gale and Chris Stephens, Barbara Hepworth: Works in the Tate Gallery Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum, St Ives, Tate Gallery Publishing, London, 1999, cat. no.33, pp.145-147 (cast 1/7 illustrated).


The sculpture is in generally good overall condition. There are one or two spots of surface dirt and one very slight horizontal line of staining to the underside on the left. Please telephone the department on 020 7293 6424 if you have any questions regarding the present work.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

The present work will be recorded in the forthcoming Hepworth catalogue raisonne as BH 208 B.

Coré retains a highly important place in Hepworth's oeuvre as it appears to be her first bronze to have been cast from a recent carving, in this case, Marble Form (Coré), executed in 1955-56; a plaster cast was made in 1959 and was first cast in bronze in 1960. The decision to turn to bronze was a significant one and highlights both the growing demand for the work of an artist who had won the Grand Prix at the Sao Paolo Bienal in 1959 but also, the increasing pressure of exhibiting around the world; Hepworth explained to Herbert Read that the constant programme of biennales and British Council travelling exhibitions, the so-called 'travelling circus', 'shriek for more and more bronzes [because] the transporters smash all carvings' (Hepworth, letter to Read, 29th October 1961, quoted in Gale and Stephens, op.cit., p.145). Indeed, the extensive exhibition history for the present sculpture exemplifies the fervent demand for her work and for Coré in particular - the edition was sold out by 1968, with four sold that summer when one was presented to Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery.

The title Coré explicitly alludes to the influence of the artist's holiday in Greece in the summer of 1954; 'kore' refers to a sort of ancient Greek sculpture of the female figure with 'koros' representing the male and in her notebooks, she recalled seeing 'Six lovely Archaic 7th Century sculptures. Parts of Kore and Koros. Fine marble and great scale' (Hepworth, 'Greek Diary 1954-64', quoted in Gale and Stephens, op.cit., p.147). The elegant organic curves and subtle markings of the present work are certainly suggestive of the female figure.

We are grateful to Dr Sophie Bowness for her kind assistance with the cataloguing of this lot.