Lot 32
  • 32

BARBARA HEPWORTH | Garden Sculpture (Model for Meridian)

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 USD
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  • Barbara Hepworth
  • Garden Sculpture (Model for Meridian)
  • Numbered 1/6
  • Bronze 
  • Height: 64 in.
  • 162.6 cm
  • Conceived in 1958 and cast in 1960 in a numbered edition of 6 by the Morris Singer Foundry, London.


Gimpel Fils, London

Private Collection, Toronto (acquired from the above)

Thence by descent


London, Gimpel Fils, Hepworth, 1961, no. 1, illustrated in the catalogue 

Toronto, Art Gallery of Toronto, Exhibition of Works by Barbara Hepworth, 1964, no. 6


Joseph Paul Hodin, Barbara Hepworth, London, 1961, no. 246, illustration of another cast p. 170 (titled Meridian, Model for State House)

Elizabeth Coxhead, Women in the Professions, London, 1961, illustrated between pp. 16 & 17

Norbert Lynton, "Barbara Hepworth, Gimpel Fils" in The Arts Review, London, June 17, 1961, vol. 13, no. 11, p. 11

Barbara Hepworth (exhibition catalogue), Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1962, no. 36, illustration of another cast n.p.

Anita Brookner, "Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions: London" in The Burlington Magazine, vol. 104, no. 711, June 1962, p. 272 (titled Meridian)

Mervyn Levy, "Impulse and Rhythm: The Artist at Work - 9" in Studio, vol. 164, no. 833, September 1962, illustrated pp. 87 & 90

John Fitzmaurice Mills, "Barbara Hepworth - at the Rietveld Pavilion, Kröller-Müller Museum" in Connoisseur, vol. 159, no. 642, August 1965, illustration of another cast p. 243 

Alan Bowness, A Guide to the Barbara Hepworth Museum, St. Ives, 1976, no. 18, p. 6 (titled Garden sculpture (Meridian))

David Fraser Jenkins, Barbara Hepworth: A Guide to the Tate Gallery Collection at London and St. Ives, Cornwall, London, 1982, pp. 17 & 18; illustration of another cast p. 31

The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London, 1984, illustration of another cast p. 116

Walter John Strachan, Open Air Sculpture in Britain: a Comprehensive Guide, London, 1984, illustration of another cast p. 158

Edwin Mullins, A Love Affair with Nature: A Personal View of British Art, Oxford, 1985, illustrated p. 68 

Matthew Gale & Chris Stephens, Barbara Hepworth: Works in the Tate Gallery Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum St. Ives, London, 1999, no. 46, pp. 122, 166, 182-87 & 238; illustration in color of another cast p.183 & illustrations of the plaster p. 184 

Miranda Phillips & Chris Stephens, Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden, London, 2002, pp. 8 & 46; illustration of another cast pp. 17 & 46

Antonia Boström, ed., The Encyclopedia of Sculpture, vol.II, New York & London, 2004, p. 745

Harriet P. Bos, John Boyer & Michael Godfrey, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte, 2009, p. 94; illustration in color of another cast p. 95

Rachel Smith, "Figure and Landscape: Barbara Hepworth’s Phenomenology of Perception" in Tate Papers, London, November 19, 2013, no. 20, illustrated n.p.

Sophie Bowness, ed., Barbara Hepworth - The Plasters: The Gift to Wakefield, Farnham & Burlington, 2011, pp. 58, 64 & 93 (notes 106 and 114); illustration of the plaster pp. 64, 66 & 67, pls. 61, 63 & 64

Peter Beacham & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Cornwall, New Haven & London, 2014, p. 561

Sophie Bowness, ed., Barbara Hepworth: Writings and Conversations, London, 2015, p. 152

Sophie Bowness, Barbara Hepworth: The Sculptor in the Studio, London, 2017, pp. 113 & 116; illustrated p. 60 & illustration of the plaster p. 120 

Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World (exhibition catalogue), Tate Britain, London; Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo & Arp Museum, Rolandseck, 2015-16, no. 103, illustration of another cast p. 178

Catalogue Note

For Barbara Hepworth the 1950s was a decade marked by incredible success, book-ended by her representing Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1950 and receiving the Grand Prize at the São Paulo Bienal of 1959. As her reputation grew throughout the 1950s within both the Modern British and international art scenes, this recognition awarded Hepworth the freedom to further develop her sculptural forms not only in terms of medium and subject matter, but in terms of size. Hepworth’s earliest sculpted forms utilized organic materials in their construction, such as stone or wood, in pursuit of the “truth to materials” artistic concept in which the nature of the material would ultimately dictate the final form of the work. As she explored the possibility of working in cast bronze, larger-scale works such as Garden Sculpture (Model for Meridian) began to appear. As Alan Bowness explained: "[Hepworth] sensed the fragility and the limitations of wood and stone, and wanted to work on a larger scale. She had also come to feel that her sculpture was often best seen in an outdoor landscape or garden setting, and bronze alone is suitable for this" (A. Bowness in Barbara Hepworth: Sculptures from the Estate (exhibition catalogue), Pace Wildenstein, New York, 1996, p. 7). While never abandoning the desire to develop the sculpture directly with her hands, Hepworth devised a working method by which she could both carve and cast to fully realize these large-scale works. Using an expanded aluminum armature, Hepworth then covered the structure in large quantities of plaster which could then be carved directly. This application of plaster resulted in a surface, as seen in the present cast of Garden Sculpture (Model for Meridian), that retains the heavy incrustations of the sculpted plaster form, somewhat reminiscent of the sculptures of Alberto Giacometti. Once cast, Hepworth’s intricately worked surfaces were further enlivened with the application of variegated colored patinas. Alan Wilkinson notes that "Stylistically, [Hepworth] was able to create more linear, open, transparent forms that would have been impossible to realize in stone or wood. She was also able to work on a much larger scale. Having her sculpture cast in bronze in limited editions meant that she could reach a much larger audience, as many more sculptures were available to museums and private collectors" (A. Wilkinson in ibid., p. 29). As was the case with her fellow British sculptor Henry Moore, as opportunities to sell and exhibit her works arose, Hepworth’s sculptures grew in size.

The form for Meridian was born from the public commission for the State House in London in 1958. The final fifteen-foot sculpture that graced the entrance of the building from 1960 until 1990 was Hepworth’s first and long-desired monumental sculpture to be cast in bronze. Abraham Marie Hammacher discusses the form: "Seen from a distance, Meridian…is graphic in character, yet at close quarters the effect is three-dimensional lineation which seems conceivable and capable of execution only in bronze" (A. M. Hammacher, The Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth, New York, 1968, p. 117). Garden Sculpture (Model for Meridian) is the result of the intermediary stage in the move towards the monumental version, retaining the linear form and iconic feel of Meridian on a human scale, and carrying with it Hepworth’s abiding explorations of the relationship between sculpture and the natural world. Other casts of Garden Sculpture (Model for Meridian) can be found in the collections of the Tate Gallery, London and New College, Oxford.

This work will be included in the revised catalogue raisonné of Hepworth's sculpture being prepared by Dr. Sophie Bowness under the catalogue no. BH 246.