Barbara Hepworth U.K., 1903-1975
"I felt the most intense pleasure in piercing the stone in order to make an abstract form and space; quite a different sensation from that of doing it for the purpose of realism."
Barbara Hepworth is considered one of the most significant British sculptors of the 20th century. Her work is influenced by her lifelong association with Henry Moore, another of Britain's notable modernist sculptors, who she met while attending the Leeds School of Art in 1920. She was awarded a diploma from the Royal College of Art in 1924, and later studied art in Italy. In addition to her extensive technical training, her work is inspired by her childhood fascination with organic systems and textures; over the course of her career, she moved from sculpting biomorphic forms to pure abstraction.
Hepworth's abstract works reflect the relationship between volume and space, often through hollow interior spaces that disrupt smooth surface textures. Hepworth received many prestigious awards and public commissions, the most notable of which is the Single Form, a memorial to Dag Hammarskjold at the United Nations in New York. In 1968, Hepworth had a solo exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London, and another in 1972 at Marlborough Fine Art, London. Barbara Hepworth was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1965, 10 years before she died in a fire in her studio at age 72. In 1994, the Tate Liverpool exhibited a retrospective of her work which travelled to the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
Hepworth's work is in collections worldwide, including the Barbara Hepworth Museum built on the site of her former studio in St. Ives, Cornwall, the Hepworth Wakefield museum in Wakefield, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and the Tate Modern, in London.