Lot 35
  • 35

Barbara Hepworth

800,000 - 1,200,000 USD
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  • Barbara Hepworth
  • CorĂ©
  • Serravezza marble
  • Height: 29.5 in
  • 75 cm
Serravezza marble
height: 76cm.
Executed in 1955-56.


Marlborough-Gerson Gallery Inc., New York (acquired from the artist)

São Schlumberger (acquired from the above)

Thence by descent to the present owner


London, Gimpel Fils, Recent Works by Barbara Hepworth, 956, no. 8 of sculpture section

Antwerp, 4th Middelheim Biennale, 1957, no. 371

Leeds, Leeds City Art Gallery, Modern Sculpture: Kenneth Armitage, Ralph Brown, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Leslie Thornton,1958, no. 31

Sao Paulo Bienal, Barbara Hepworth, 1959 (and travelling throughout South America until Nov 1960)

London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Barbara Hepworth: An Exhibition of Sculpture from 1952-62, 1962, no. 16, illustrated in the catalogue

Zurich, Gimpel Hanover Gallery & Gimpel Fils, London, Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture and Drawings, 1963- 64, no. 4a, illustrated in the catalogue

New York, Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, The English Eye, 1965, no. 27, illustrated in the catalogue


Michel Seuphor, The Sculpture of This Century, New York, 1960, p. 280

J.P. Hodin, Barbara Hepworth, London 1961, with a catalogue of works by Alan Bowness, no. 208, illustrated 

Abraham Marie Hammacher, Barbara Hepworth, London, 1968, illustrated p. 122

Barbara Hepworth, A Pictorial Autobiography, New York, 1970, illustrated pl. 194

Sophie Bowness (ed.), Barbara Hepworth. The Plasters. The Gift to Wakefield, Farnham, 2011, illustrated p. 108


The work is in very good condition. Executed in white Serravezza marble, which exhibits some natural veining and occlusions. These intrinsic elements are visible in two very fine lines of veining to the thickest edge and in the top. Some slight abrasion to one of the edges.
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.

Catalogue Note

Hepworth’s Coré is an elegant marble form, beautifully illustrating her mastery of the medium. Carving was the artist’s predominant form of artistic expression and the method through which she produced her most celebrated works. As early as 1932, Hepworth declared her passion for carving: “The sculptor carves because he must. He needs the concrete form of stone and wood for the expression of his idea and experience, and when the idea forms the material is found at once. [...] I have always preferred direct carving to modelling because I like the resistance of the hard material and feel happier working that way. Carving is more adapted to the expression of the accumulative idea of experience and clay to the visual attitude. An idea for carving must be clearly formed before starting and sustained during the long process of working; also, there are all the beauties of several hundreds of different stones and woods, and the idea must be in harmony with the qualities of each one carved; that harmony comes with the discovery of the most direct way of carving each material according to its nature” (B. Hepworth, “The Sculptor carves because he must”, in The Studio, London, vol. 104, December 1932, p. 332).

The title and form of Coré reflect the influence of Hepworth’s visit to Greece the previous year. The trip had been arranged by her friend Margaret Gardiner as a respite from the exhaustion she was experiencing following the death of her son Paul the previous year and the frenetic preparations for her Whitechapel retrospective. Hepworth was immediately drawn to the landscape, writing “In Greece the inspiration was fantastic. I ran up the hills like a hare, with my notebook, to get there first and have the impact of solitude” (quoted in Barbara Hepworth. A Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), Tate Gallery, Liverpool, 1994, p. 98). Initially this led to a series of sculptures in hardwood, such as Corinthos or Delphi that explored her reaction to the landscape of Greece, but her notebooks and records suggest she had been equally impressed by the historical and cultural sites they had visited as part of the cruise. Coré makes a specific allusion to the ancient Greek ‘Kore’ (or ‘korai’ in the plural) – sixth century freestanding sculptures of young women that are the female counterpart to the kouroi statues.‘Coré’ is the French name for these figures. She was known to have a postcard of a marble kouros torso in the Louvre and the parallels between the form and her own explorations of the standing figure motif evidently intrigued her. Significantly, having used hardwood for her earlier Greece-inspired works, in Coré she returned to the quintessentially classical marble to articulate her experience of Greece. However, whilst she used a traditional material, her reinterpretation of the ancient model reflects her continued exploration of the possibilities of non-representational and abstract shapes. As Matthew Gale and Chris Stephens discuss, “Hepworth’s reference to that source is typically elliptical as the rigid verticality of the Archaic figures is in contrast to the organic curves of her work. However, she adopted the same material as her ancient predecessors and the concave circle on the right-hand side and the crescent on the left of Coré may be seen as schematic signifiers for the face” (M. Gale & C. Stephens, Barbara Hepworth, London, 1999, p. 145).

 In 1960 Hepworth cast an edition of Coré in bronze, one of which is now in the Tate Collection at the Barbara Hepworth Museum in St. Ives.