We are grateful to Dr. Sophie Bowness for her kind assistance with the cataloguing apparatus for the present work.
It was after her move to St Ives with her then husband Ben Nicholson, before the outbreak of war in 1939, that Hepworth began to explore within a two-dimensional field, creating delicately worked and carefully ruled pencil drawings that were not affected by the same wartime constraints as the possibilities of sculpture. These early drawings differed from the working sketches for planned sculptures that the artist would execute speedily on scraps of paper and card and were in their own right carefully considered developments of the artist’s ideas towards the broader themes of space, colour and form. As Hepworth herself identified “I do spend whole periods of time entirely in drawing (or painting, as I use colour) when I search for forms and rhythms and curvatures for my own satisfaction. These drawings I call ‘drawings for sculpture’, but it is in a general sense – that is – out of the drawings springs a general influence” (‘Approach to Sculpture’; Studio, Vol.132, no.643, Oct. 1946, p.101, cited in Barbara Hepworth, Tate, London, 2001, p.79).
By the 1960s these ‘drawings’ had developed in terms of colour and line, and the interplay and overlap between the two serves to conjure up a rich sense of free-flowing visual and kinetic energy. Over the gesso-prepared board the artist applies thinly washed planes of sandy yellow, rich orange, mint green and marine blues, with bold intersecting pencil lines and parabolic curves reminiscent of the stringing that she had first introduced in the late 1930s; referencing both the Constructivist Naum Gabo and her British contemporary Henry Moore.
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