Barbara Hepworth

Born: 1903

Barbara Hepworth

Dame Barbara Hepworth was without doubt Britain's first greatest sculptress. She was a pioneer of her time and the first woman sculptor to achieve international prominence.

Her slender hands carved iconic pieces that grace the landscapes of Britain, America, Japan, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

"Her capacity to create something so beguiling, so intelligent, so mesmerizingly coherent, from the most basic materials. It is genuinely amazing: a sort of alchemy.", Will Gompertz quoted in the Guardian; describing his admiration for this great woman.

Hepworth grew up in Yorkshire but was inspired at a young age by Egyptian sculpture. From then on sculpture became a large part of her life. She won scholarships, first to Leeds and later to the Royal College of Art. On a further scholarship she was later to travel to Italy.

In 1939, with the onset of war, Hepworth relocated to Cornwall and fell in love with St. Ives.

It wasn't until the late sixties (although screen print 'Abstract Composition' was published in 1955, edition size unknown) that we were made aware of Barbara Hepworth's skills as a printmaker.

The signed lithograph print 'Three Forms' was published in 1969, an edition of 60, it is associated with her 1935 sculpture 'Three Forms', a carving from grey alabaster, influenced by the birth of her triplets, two boys and a girl. Barbara Hepworth said of her work at this time "I was absorbed in the relationships in space ... and in the tensions between the forms."

Hepworth's works began to sell readily to museums and private collectors throughout the world, and she started to receive commissions for large sculptures to on public sites both in England and abroad.

Tragically, in 1975 Barbara died in a house fire at her home in Cornwall. Her studio and unfinished works left untouched by the flames, can still be seen today.

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