Lot 10
  • 10

Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE

bidding is closed


  • Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE
  • Sea Form (Atlantic)
  • inscribed Barbara Hepworth, dated 1964, numbered 6/6 and inscribed by the foundry Morris Singer Founders - London
  • bronze
  • 204 by 107 by 73cm.
  • 80 by 42 by 28 3/4 in.


Mr & Mrs Samuel G. Rautbord, Chicago (acquired from the artist in September 1966. Sold: Christie’s, New York, 13th May 1998, lot 208)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


(probably) London, Gimpel Fils, Barbara Hepworth, 1966


Barbara Hepworth & Alan Bowness, Barbara Hepworth: Drawings from a Sculptor's Landscape, London, 1966, another cast illustrated in colour p. 12
Barbara Hepworth (exhibition catalogue), Tate Gallery, London, 1968, no. 145, another cast illustrated pp. 5 & 38
Barbara Hepworth, Barbara Hepworth: A Pictorial Autobiography, Bath, 1970, another cast illustrated pls. 286 & 301
Alan Bowness (ed.), The Complete Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth 1960-69, London, 1971, no. 362, another cast illustrated pls. 103 & 104
Barbara Hepworth: Late Works (exhibition catalogue, Royal Botanic Garden & Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, 1976, another cast illustrated p. 10
Barbara Hepworth: A Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), Tate Gallery, Liverpool, 1994, another cast illustrated p. 160
Matthew Gale & Chris Stephens, Barbara Hepworth: Works in the Tate Gallery Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum, St. Ives, 1999, another cast illustrated p. 202
Chris Stephens (ed.), Barbara Hepworth: Centenary, London, 2004, no. 94, another cast illustrated in colour p. 143
Sophie Bowness (ed.), Barbara Hepworth: The Plasters, The Gift to Wakefield, London, 2011, plaster cast illustrated pls. 41 & 47
Penelope Curtis, St. Ives Artists: Barbara Hepworth, London, 2012, another cast illustrated in colour p. 45

Catalogue Note

Hepworth drew inspiration from the Cornish landscape surrounding her at St. Ives and created sculptures such as Sea Form (Atlantic) that directly engage with the environment in which they are set. The basic form of the present work, a slightly unbalanced 'shield', derives in part from the Neolithic standing stones at the Chun Castle hill fort site in West Cornwall, and the ovoid piercings relate to the caves found along the Cornish coastline. In the 1950s and 1960s bronze became Hepworth’s primary medium of expression. In conversation the artist explained her working methods: ‘My approach to bronze isn’t a modeller’s approach. I like to create the armature of a bronze as if I’m building a boat, and then putting the plaster on is like covering the bones with skin and muscles. But I build up so that I can cut it. I like to carve the hard plaster surface. Even at the very last minute when it’s finished I take a hatchet to it (quoted in A. Bowness (ed.), op.cit., p. 7).

In 1961 Hepworth acquired the Palais de Danse, a dance studio next door to her own home, in St. Ives. The increased space allowed Hepworth to fulfil her long-held desire to work on a much grander scale.  Subsequent sculptures came to exemplify the elegant monumental style Hepworth is identified with today, and occupy prominent public spaces across the world. Sea Form (Atlantic) belongs to a small group of large-scale bronzes which take the interpenetration of land and sea as their theme, and were primarily based on observations of the coast around Porthcurno (fig. 1), on the far tip of the Penwith peninsula.

There are casts of Sea Form (Atlantic) in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas, the Lynden Sculpture Garden near Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the City of Norwich Museum in Norfolk.

Fig. 1, Dame Barbara Hepworth, Rock Form (Porthcurno), 1964, bronze, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh