Posts Tagged ‘Val Wilmer


Exhibition: ‘Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World’ at Tate Britain, London

Exhibition dates: 24th June – 25th October 2015

Linbury Galleries



A national treasure. An old soul.

My favourite period of Hepworth’s is the 1940s-1950s, when she found her true voice as an artist. Working with wood, inspired by the landscape, she carved into the space of form / the form of space. She was a master of inner space. The sculptures with string are like harps, they resonate with the energy of life, sea, rock, wind and become … oracles, evidencing some deep inner knowledge. My god, what an artist. Underrated by some but to those that know, a magical voice of becoming.


Many thankx to the Tate for allowing me to publish the art works in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



Sculptor Barbara Hepworth


Sculptor Barbara Hepworth


Barbara Hepworth banner


Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World exhibition banner


Barbara Hepworth. 'Discs in Echelon' 1935


Barbara Hepworth
Discs in Echelon
Padouk wood
311 x 491 x 225 mm
Museum of Modern Art, New York
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


Barbara Hepworth. 'Doves (Group)' 1927


Barbara Hepworth
Doves (Group)
Parian marble
Manchester Art Gallery
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


Barbara Hepworth. 'Large and Small Form' 1934


Barbara Hepworth
Large and Small Form
White alabaster
250 x 450 x 240 mm
The Pier Arts Centre Collection, Orkney
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


Dame Barbara Hepworth. 'Mother and Child' 1934


Dame Barbara Hepworth
Mother and Child
Cumberland alabaster
230 x 455 x 189 mm, 11.1 kg
Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1993© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


Barbara Hepworth. 'Pelagos' 1946


Barbara Hepworth
Elm and strings on oak
430 x 460 x 385 mm
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


Pelagos (‘sea’ in Greek) was inspired by a view of the bay at St Ives in Cornwall, where two arms of land enfold the sea on either side. The hollowed-out wood has a spiral formation resembling a shell, a wave or the roll of a hill. Hepworth wanted the taut strings to express ‘the tension I felt between myself and the sea, the wind or the hills’. She moved to Cornwall with her husband Ben Nicholson in 1939, and produced some of her finest sculpture in its wild landscape.


Dame Barbara Hepworth. 'Oval Sculpture (No. 2)' 1943, cast 1958


Dame Barbara Hepworth
Oval Sculpture (No. 2)
1943, cast 1958
Plaster on wooden base
293 x 400 x 255 mm
Presented by the artist 1967


In the 1930s Barbara Hepworth and her husband Ben Nicholson were members of the London-based avant-garde. Shortly before the outbreak of war they moved to Cornwall with their children. Running a nursery school and living in cramped conditions reduced Hepworth’s output of sculpture to a minimum. In 1943, the family moved to larger accommodation with studio space. Hepworth’s abstract forms, which seem akin to caves and shells, were affected by the Cornish landscape. Her response to nature was not romantic or mystical but more firmly based on actual observation. Circles and spheres had dominated her work. These were replaced by ovals which gave her sculptures two centres rather than one, complicating their interior form.


Barbara Hepworth. 'Sculpture with Colour (Deep Blue and Red) (6)' 1943


Barbara Hepworth
Sculpture with Colour (Deep Blue and Red) (6)
© The Hepworth Estate


Barbara Hepworth. 'Red in Tension' 1941


Barbara Hepworth
Red in Tension
Pencil and gouache on paper
254 x 355 mm
Private collection
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


Dame Barbara Hepworth. 'Group I (Concourse) February 4 1951' 1951


Dame Barbara Hepworth
Group I (Concourse) February 4 1951
Serravezza marble
248 x 505 x 295 mm, 19 kg
Bequeathed by Miss E.M. Hodgkins 1977
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate



“Tate Britain will open the first London museum retrospective for five decades of the work of Barbara Hepworth, one of Britain’s greatest artists. Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) was a leading figure of the international modern art movement in the 1930s, and one of the most successful sculptors in the world during the 1950s and 1960s. This major retrospective opens on 24 June 2015 and will emphasise Hepworth’s often overlooked prominence in the international art world. It will highlight the different contexts and spaces in which Hepworth presented her work, from the studio to the landscape.

The exhibition will feature over 70 works by Hepworth from major carvings and bronzes to less-familiar works and those by other artists. It opens with Hepworth’s earliest surviving carvings from the 1920s alongside works by predecessors and peers artists from Jacob Epstein to Henry Moore. The selection reveals how her work related to a wider culture of wood and stone carving between the wars when Hepworth studied at Leeds Art School and at the Royal College of Art.

Hepworth and her second husband Ben Nicholson made works in dialogue and photographed their studio in Hampstead, London in order to reinforce the idea of a common practice integrated into a way of life. Major carvings like Kneeling Figure, 1932 (rosewood) and Large and Small Form, 1934 (alabaster) will be shown with paintings, prints and drawings by Nicholson, and rarely seen works by Hepworth including textiles, drawings, collages and photograms. Archival photographs will show the two artists and their works in the studio demonstrating their integrated life of art and craft.

In the later 1930s, Hepworth made more purely abstract work as part of an international movement disseminated through magazines and exhibitions. A display of the majority of Hepworth’s surviving carvings of this period will include Discs in Echelon 1935 (padouk wood) and Single Form 1937 (lignum vitae) which will be seen in conjunction with the journals in which they featured alongside the work of artists such as Alberto Giacometti and Piet Mondrian.

In the mid-1940s, Hepworth, in St Ives, Cornwall, began making sculptures in wood that expressed her response to her new surroundings. These will be set alongside her two-dimensional work: the abstract works on paper of the early 1940s and her figurative ‘hospital drawings’ of 1947-8, both expressing utopian ideals.A selection of photographs and film  will consider the different ways in which Hepworth’s sculpture was presented or imagined – in landscape, in a gallery, in the garden and on stage – and the impact such variant stagings have on the work’s interpretation.

One room will reunite four large carvings in the sumptuous African hardwood guarea, made in 1954-5, which are probably the highpoint of Hepworth’s carving career. In the post-war period, Hepworth’s sculpture became a prominent part of the international art scene. This will be evoked through a focus on her retrospective at the Kröller-Müller Museum in 1965 and the display of bronzes that inaugurated the Museum’s reconstructed Rietveld Pavilion.

Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World is curated by Penelope Curtis, Director, Tate Britain and Chris Stephens, Lead Curator, Modern British Art and Head of Displays with Assistant Curator Inga Fraser and Sophie Bowness, the artist’s granddaughter. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. It will tour to the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo in the Netherlands from November 2015 to April 2016 and to the Arp Museum, Rolandseck in Germany from May to August 2016.”

Press release from the Tate Britain website






Who is Barbara Hepworth?

3 June 2015


Who is she?

Barbara Hepworth was a British sculptor, who was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire in 1903. She was a leading figure in the international art scene throughout a career spanning five decades.

Who were her peers?

Hepworth studied at Leeds school of Art from 1920-1921 alongside fellow Yorkshire-born artist Henry Moore. Both students continued their studies in sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London. Both became leading practitioners of the avant-garde method of Direct Carving (working directly in to the chosen material) avoiding the more traditional process of making preparatory models and maquettes from which a craftsman would produce the finished work.

From 1924 Hepworth spent two years in Italy, and in 1925 married her first husband, the artist John Skeaping, in Florence; their marriage was to last until 1931.

From 1932, she lived with the painter Ben Nicholson and, for a number of years, the two artists made work in close proximity to each other, developing a way of working that was almost like a collaboration. They spent periods of time travelling throughout Europe, and it was here that Hepworth met Georges Braque and Piet Mondrian, and visited the studios of Picasso, Constantin Brancusi, and Jean Arp and Sophie Taueber-Arp. The experience was a hugely exciting one for Hepworth, for she not only found herself in the studios of some of Europe’s most influential artists, which helped her to approach her own career with renewed vigour and clarity, but also found there mutual respect. The School of Paris had a lasting effect on both Hepworth and Nicholson as they became key figures in an international network of abstract artists.

By now married and with triplets as well as a son from her first marriage, when war broke out in 1939, Hepworth and Nicholson moved to St Ives. Though she didn’t know it, the seaside town would remain her home for their rest of her life, and after the war she and Nicholson became a hub for a generation of younger emerging British artists such as Peter Lanyon, Roger Hilton and Terry Frost – who was Hepworth’s studio assistant for a time. As she had found, the wild beauty of the surrounding terrain offered a counter to the disruption and destruction of the war. And, like her, those artists made paintings and sculptures inspired by the place and the forces and their experience of nature.

Though concerned with form and abstraction, Hepworth’s art was primarily about relationships: not merely between two forms presented side-by-side, but between the human figure and the landscape, colour and texture, and most importantly between people at an individual and social level.

What’s her legacy?

Barbara Hepworth’s name is still intertwined with the history and culture of St Ives and her studio and sculpture Garden remain one of the town’s most popular destinations. In the town where Hepworth was born, as well as housing a rich archive of the artist’s work and serving as a platform for contemporary artists working today, The Hepworth Wakefield also pays lasting homage to an artist who spoke frequently of the effect her surroundings had on her formative years.

The whole of this Yorkshire background means more to me as the years have passed. I draw on these early experiences not only visually in texture and contour, but humanly. The importance of man in landscape was stressed by the seeming contradiction of the industrial town springing out of the inner beauty of the country.

In her lifetime, however, she was also a major international figure, showing her work in exhibitions around the globe. As a woman in a largely male-dominated art-world, Hepworth took an active role in the way her work was presented. She was particular about documentation of her works, and collaborated closely with others. She established innovative ways to push the boundaries of her technique and thematic investigations and sustained a career that saw her mount a retrospective at Kröller-Müller Museum in 1965, represent Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1950 and won first prize at the São Paulo Bienal in 1959. She has influenced countless artists, designers, architects and performers such as Linder Sterling, Peter Jensen and Rebecca Warren citing her as an influential figure in their own creative practice.

Hepworth is known first and foremost as a sculptor, but she also worked in other mediums – and was very interested in documenting her own work through photography. The landscape around St Ives became part of the way her works were presented in the media; St Ives Bay, Godrevy Lighthouse and The Island all become compositional tools for those documenting her works, creating an additional dialogue between the forms and their surroundings.

From 1947-1949, during an illness her daughter suffered, Hepworth produced a series of drawings and paintings based on her time observing doctors and surgeons at St Mary’s hospital in Exeter. Read about their creation in Tate Etc. magazine

What do the critics say?

No militant feminist herself, she asked simply to be treated as a sculptor (never a sculptress), irrespective of sex.
– Alan Bowness

Hepworth was an artist of extraordinary stature whose importance is still to some extent occluded. Over 50 years, from 1925 to her death in 1975, she made more than 600 works of sculpture remarkable in range and emotional force.
– Fiona McCarthy

In these works this brave and indefatigable woman transcends the difficulties and ugliness of modern life and evokes a vision of radiant calm perfection.
– Herbert Read

Hepworth in Quotes…

The sculptor carves because he must. He needs the concrete form of stone and wood for the expression of his idea and experience, and when the idea forms the material is found at once.

From the Sculptors point of view one can either be the spectator of the object or the object itself. For a few years I became the object.

I think every sculpture must be touched, it’s part of the way you make it and it’s really our first sensibility, it is the sense of feeling, it is first one we have when we’re born. I think every person looking at a sculpture should use his own body. You can’t look at a sculpture if you are going to stand stiff as a ram rod and stare at it, with as sculpture you must walk around it, bend toward it, touch it and walk away from it.

Text from the Tate Britain website


Barbara Hepworth. 'Photo-collage with Helicoids in Sphere in the entrance hall of flats designed by Alfred and Emil Roth and Marcel Breuer at Doldertal, Zurich' 1939


Barbara Hepworth
Photo-collage with Helicoids in Sphere in the entrance hall of flats designed by Alfred and Emil Roth and Marcel Breuer at Doldertal, Zurich
Photograph, gelatin silver prints on paper
Private collection
© The Hepworth Photograph Collection


Raymond Coxon. 'Henry Moore, Edna Ginesi and Barbara Hepworth in Paris' 1920


Raymond Coxon
Henry Moore, Edna Ginesi and Barbara Hepworth in Paris
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


Barbara Hepworth. 'Infant' 1929


Barbara Hepworth
438 x 273 x 254 mm
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


Dame Barbara Hepworth. 'Single Form (Eikon)' 1937-8, cast 1963


Dame Barbara Hepworth
Single Form (Eikon)
1937-8, cast 1963
1480 x 280 x 320 mm, 77 kg
Presented by the artist 1964
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


The original of this bronze was a carved plaster column set on a wooden base. The plaster was sent to Paris in 1938 for an exhibition and remained there until 1961. In 1963 Hepworth had it cast in an edition of seven. By the mid 1930s Hepworth had turned from carving semi-naturalistic figures and animals to an exploration of pure sculptural forms. She has written that her interest then centred on the relationship between a form and its surrounding space as well as its integral size, texture and weight. But these sculptures almost always retained an organic character.


Constellation of artworks in the Hepworth display


Constellation of artworks in the Hepworth display

This constellation forges connections between modern and contemporary works concerned with a sculptural relationship to the artist’s body and to the natural world, revealing a pathway that links geometric abstraction with the surrealist ability to recognise human shapes in natural forms. The phased development of Single Form (Eikon), as it moved through versions in plaster and wood to its final metal incarnation nearly 30 years later, raises questions about the role of sculpture and the importance of materials – concerns that are echoed in the works of Naum Gabo, Marisa Merz and Max Ernst. Louise Bourgeois’ printmaking suite presents a dark vision of biomorphic assimilation and amputation, while the strength and stability of Hepworth’s direct carving method is echoed on an intimate scale by Merz’s knitted nylon works, whose delicate appearance belies their tough industrial materials.

The geometric abstraction of Hepworth’s monolithic bronze highlights her association with the constructive art championed by Gabo in 1936, which focused on the universal nature of pure forms. She also had connections to the surrealist movement. With its phallic quality and contrasting purified aesthetic, the cast bronze sculpture can relate to both of these important movements; like other works in the constellation powerfully oscillating between abstraction and figuration.

In a strong statement on her own artistic philosophy, Hepworth proclaimed: ‘I think every person looking at a sculpture should use his own body. You can’t look at a sculpture if you are going to stand stiff as a ram rod and stare at it, with a sculpture you must walk around it, bend toward it, touch it and walk away from it.’ This invitation to engage in a bodily experience of sculpture shares its premise with Bruce Nauman’s cast plaster and fibreglass work, Isa Genzken’s totemic concrete monuments, and Daria Martin’s film In the Palace, which dramatically enlarges to architectural scale an iconic Giacometti sculpture, enabling performers to inhabit its time and space, in an uncanny fusing of materials and people. (Text from the Tate Britain website)


Barbara Hepworth. 'Double Exposure of Two Forms' 1937


Barbara Hepworth
Double Exposure of Two Forms
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
Private collection
© The Hepworth Photograph Collection


Barbara Hepworth. 'Self-Photogram' 1933


Barbara Hepworth
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


Paul Laib. 'Hepworth in the Mall Studio, London' 1933


Paul Laib
Hepworth in the Mall Studio, London
The Barbara Hepworth Photograph Collection
© The de Laszlo Collection of Paul Laib Negatives, Witt Library, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London


Paul Laib. 'Hepworth in the Mall Studio, London' 1933 (detail)


Paul Laib
Hepworth in the Mall Studio, London (detail)
The Barbara Hepworth Photograph Collection
© The de Laszlo Collection of Paul Laib Negatives, Witt Library, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London


Dame Barbara Hepworth. 'Fenestration of the Ear (The Hammer)' 1948


Dame Barbara Hepworth
Fenestration of the Ear (The Hammer)
Oil and pencil on board
384 x 270 mm
Purchased 1976
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


Barbara Hepworth. 'Curved Form (Delphi)' 1955


Barbara Hepworth
Curved Form (Delphi)
© The Estate of Dame Barbara Hepworth


Dame Barbara Hepworth. 'Curved Form (Trevalgan)' 1956


Dame Barbara Hepworth
Curved Form (Trevalgan)
Bronze on wooden base
902 x 597 x 673 mm
Purchased 1960


Val Wilmer. 'Barbara Hepworth in the Palais de la Danse studio, St Ives, at work on the wood carving Hollow Form with White Interior' 1963


Val Wilmer
Barbara Hepworth in the Palais de la Danse studio, St Ives, at work on the wood carving Hollow Form with White Interior
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


Val Wilmer. 'Barbara Hepworth in the Palais de la Danse studio, St Ives, at work on the wood carving Hollow Form with White Interior' 1963 (detail)


Val Wilmer
Barbara Hepworth in the Palais de la Danse studio, St Ives, at work on the wood carving Hollow Form with White Interior (detail)
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


Morgan-Wells. 'Barbara Hepworth with the plaster of Single Form 1961-4 at the Morris Singer foundry, London, May 1963' 1963


Barbara Hepworth with the plaster of Single Form 1961-4 at the Morris Singer foundry, London, May 1963
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


Dame Barbara Hepworth. 'Sea Form (Porthmeor)' 1958


Dame Barbara Hepworth
Sea Form (Porthmeor)
Bronze on wooden base
830 x 1135 x 355 mm
Presented by the artist 1967


Porthmeor is a beach close to Hepworth’s studio in St Ives, Cornwall. A critic thought this sculpture ‘seems to belong to the living world of the sea.’ However, the curling lip of the bronze is quite a literal representation of a breaking wave. At Porthmeor, Hepworth loved to watch the changing tide, the movement of sand and wind and the footprints of men and birds. For her, the rhythm of the tides was part of a natural order to which humankind also belongs.


Barbara Hepworth. 'Oval Form (Trezion)' 1961-63


Barbara Hepworth
Oval Form (Trezion)
940 x 1440 x 870 mm
Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums Collections
Photograph courtesy The Kröller-Müller Otterlo, The Netherlands. Photograph by Mary Ann Sullivan, Blufton University
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate


Barbara Hepworth. 'Squares with Two Circles' 1963


Barbara Hepworth
Squares with Two Circles
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate



Tate Britain
Millbank, London SW1P 4RG
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 20 7887 8888

Opening hours:
10.00 am – 18.00 pm daily

Tate Britain website


Back to top

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

If you would like to unsubscribe from the email list please email me at and I will remove you asap. Thank you.

Join 2,707 other followers

If you would like to unsubscribe from the email list please email Marcus at and I will remove you asap. Thank you.

Follow Art_Blart on Twitter
Art Blart on Pinterest

Lastest tweets

January 2021