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Barbara Hepworth

English

Biography

Born

1903

Died

1975

Nationality

English

Birth Place

Wakefield

Death Place

Saint Ives

Hepworth studied at Leeds College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. In 1924 she travelled to Italy on a scholarship to study the techniques of marble carving. Her first major exhibition at the Beaux Arts Gallery in 1928 consisted mainly of stone carvings of figures and animals. From 1932, after she carved her first holed sculpture, Pierced Form (which was subsequently destroyed during the Second World War), her work became entirely abstract. Hepworth moved to St Ives, Cornwall in 1939 and lived there for the rest of her life. In the early 1940s she began to use string to explore the tension or space within a sculpture. Toward the end of the decade, figurative references were reintroduced in her work, and from the 1950s onwards she worked predominantly in bronze. During the second half of her career Hepworth received important commissions, including the large-scale work Single Form for the United Nations building, New York. She showed in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (1950), held major retrospectives at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1954) and Tate (1968), and was made Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1965. Aged 72, she died in a fire at her studio, which is now a museum dedicated to her work.

Dame Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth (10 January 1903 – 20 May 1975) was an English artist and sculptor. Her work exemplifies Modernism and in particular modern sculpture. Along with artists such as Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo, Hepworth was a leading figure in the colony of artists who resided in St Ives during the Second World War. Born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, Hepworth studied at Leeds School of Art and the Royal College of Art in the 1920s. She married the sculptor John Skeaping in 1925. In 1931 she fell in love with the painter Ben Nicholson, and in 1933 divorced Skeaping. At this time she was part of a circle of modern artists centred on Hampstead, London, and was one of the founders of the art movement Unit One. At the beginning of the Second World War Hepworth and Nicholson moved to St Ives, Cornwall, where she would remain for the rest of her life. Best known as a sculptor, Hepworth also produced drawings – including a series of sketches of operating rooms following the hospitalisation of her daughter in 1944 – and lithographs. She died in a fire at her studio in 1975.

ID: 234109

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