Lot 312
  • 312

Barbara Hepworth

Estimate
200,000 - 300,000 USD
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Description

  • Barbara Hepworth
  • Torso I (Ulysses)
  • Inscribed Barbara Hepworth, numbered 6/6 and inscribed with the foundry mark Susse Fondeur Paris
  • Bronze 
  • Height: 52 in.
  • 132.2 cm

Provenance

Private Collection, Northam, England
Sale: Christie’s, London, December 2, 1986, lot 409
Gimpel Fils, London (acquired at the above sale)
New Art Centre, London
Acquired from the above on February 24, 1987

Literature

Josef P. Hodin, Barbara Hepworth, New York, 1961, illustration of another cast pl. 233
Michael Shepherd, Barbara Hepworth, London, 1963, illustration of another cast pl. 11
Abraham M. Hammacher, Barbara Hepworth, New York, 1968, no. 105, illustration of another cast p. 130

Condition

This work is in excellent condition. The work has a dark brown and black patina. The surface is clean. There are a few very minor nicks and scuffs. Otherwise, fine.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

Catalogue Note

Hepworth visited Greece in 1954, and left inspired by the light, landscape and art of the region, evocatively describing how this was to influence her sculpture in the following years: "I remember standing on Patmos and thinking—with that incredible stretch of sea and islands before me—how intensely a figure rising in the distance expressed that perfect elevation of the human spirit which in a way is conveyed by a powerful sculptured form" (quoted in Josef P. Hodin, op. cit., p. 10). Torso I (Ulysses) is one such work which bears the influence of this trip, unifying in one flowing form the figural and the abstract. As if to illustrate her words to the very letter, Hepworth had this work—and the other two works in this series— photographed against the sea, realizing her Greek-inspired vision of the human spirit captured in sculptural form (see fig. 1). The sense of the figural is emphasized in Torso I (Ulysses) by the amorphous modeling of the work; shaped first in plaster before being cast in bronze, it retains the feeling of the artist’s touch in its subtly undulating form, a notion furthered by her working of the bronze itself. It was at this time that Hepworth also began to cut and carve into the surface of her bronze works, noting that: "I only learned to love bronze when I found that it was gentle and I could file it and carve it and chisel it" (letter to Ben Nicholson, October 2, 1966), and the surface of the work bears evidence of this filing and cutting. This working and weathering of the surface renders it almost curiously bone—or stone—like, a man-made sculpture which embodies an organic form, transcending traditional sculptural confines.



This work will be included in the revised catalogue raisonné of Hepworth's sculpture being prepared by Dr. Sophie Bowness under the catalogue BH 233.