Barbara Hepworth’s Monumental Elegance

Barbara Hepworth, “Pierced Hemisphere” (1937) Wakefield Permanent Art Collection (© Bowness, photograph: Norman Taylor)

WAKEFIELD, England — The sculptor Barbara Hepworth was born in the former mill town of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in 1921, and it is at the Hepworth Wakefield, a gallery named in her honor, which was created 10 years ago by the architect David Chipperfield in the pleasing shape of a jostle of wonky, gray cubes partly surrounded by a river (it’s a little like a jangly Modernist take on a moated castle keep), that her work is being celebrated in a thoroughgoing retrospective. 

The exhibition, Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life, is both an examination of some of the best of her artworks and a spasmodic account of her life. This is a place where the outdoors are always trying to get a look in. A weeping willow thrashes in the wind just beyond the window. Houseboats are nestled into the river bank, snooped on by a giant yellow crane. 

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@peepso_user_75(Kate Hendrickson)
I has the pleasure of visiting Barbara Hepworth's studio shortly after her death while I was in grad school studying for a summer at Falmouth School of Art in Cornwall. Her studio was in St. Ives. The studio was as she left it with various sculptures in different states of progress. Any moment she might have arrived. Just adjacent to the studio was a lush garden dotted with her sculptures.
1 year ago