- Barbara Hepworth
- Serravezza marble
- Height: 29.5 in
- 75 cm
Executed in 1955-56.
São Schlumberger (acquired from the above)
Thence by descent to the present owner
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
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
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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.