Barbara Hepworth “The Queen of Sculptors”

Globalization icas 2012logoThe month of January celebrates the anniversary of Barbara Hepworth’s birth. As a group, we want to visit her work, both drawings & sculptures, to base our opinion on the work we admire most.

Secondly, the work that you would like to add to our list of famous works of art!!

for more information, visit the website:

To view the video of  BBC commentary with Barbara Hepworth, click link:

Barbara Hepworth – Archive Footage

play video

Peter Filzmaier

Peter Filzmaier •I am intrigued by Hepworth’s semi-abstract and abstract creations. from “Doves” to “Ball Plane and Hole” her work evolves through the century and mirrors a time when art was for art’s sake, and sculptors like her and Moore led a trend affecting all media. Some of my favourites are; “Infant”, “Two Heads”, “Pierced Form”, and “Mother and Child”.
The aforementioned, to me, defines the three-dimensional aspect of sculpture, which entices the viewer’s perspective around the entire work.

Artist: Barbara HepworthDove stone white marble 1927

Artist: Barbara Hepworth
Dove stone white marble 1927

Ball plane and hole bronze 1936

Ball plane and hole bronze 1936

Two Heads stone carving 1932

Two Heads stone carving 1932

Stone carving "Pieced Form 1932"

Stone carving “Pieced Form 1932.”

Stonne Carving "Mother and Child 1927"

Stone Carving “Mother and Child 1927”

Didier Dubuy

Didier Dubuy • Nearly impossible task to choose anything from this great Lady. Her love & respect for the material, whatever she chose to work with, is so high! Marbles, and woods, reveal their inner qualities, veins, and structure through smooth shapes & polish. Then voids come through to animate, to complete the material, managing corridors as if it was just made to be sensuality enjoyed but gone through beyond. Most emblematic, maybe, would be her works with strings; “Delphos” 1955 (my favourite), “Elegia” or “Gothic”. I love everything; 30’s rigorous shapes & 20’s figurative works with solid plastic ( pre-Columbian remembrance?) too.

Wood sculpture with painted interior and string "Dephi 1955"

Wood sculpture with painted interior and string “Dephi 1955.”

Bronze sculpture "Elegy III 1966"

Bronze sculpture “Elegy III 1966.”


Sunil Vilas • Barbara Hepworth’s life story is divided into two tales, the first half being influenced by working together with her first husband, John Skeaping, known for his bronze and wooden sculptures. The theme he liked working with was in the form of animals and mainly horses. We can trace the changes in her work from the earlier influences in the 30s. And in the second half was with the artist Ben Nicholson who played a significant role in her influence in working with abstract geometric shapes. What also brought about the most significant change in the direction of her work was when in 1932, he visited Paris with Hepworth and met Picasso, Braque, Brancusi and Arp. On Subsequent visits to Paris in 1933 and 1934, they met Mondrian and Moholy-Nagy. All these contacts and meetings with all the masters that we know of today helped to shape the style and work that we all appreciate and admirer in her work today.

My favourite that I love and is a symbol of what she stood for. The Queen of the sculptor is the commission Title: Single Form Bronze, 1961–64 (BH 325), United Nations Building, New York. Perhaps this is where “Art help to shape the World that we live in today”.
A good lesson to understand from this is an artist are also a painter, sculptors, photographers, potters and craftsmen.., Picasso I would say I led the way by experimenting with all the mediums available to his talent and opening his mind to all creative art forms to complete some of the finest examples that we appreciate in National galleries around the world.
Very interesting how we discovered possibilities of another two topics that we could add-on our list for future discussions here in the creative lounge

Bronze sculpture "Single Form 1961-1964" United Nation building - New York

Bronze sculpture “Single Form 1961-1964” United Nations building – New York

Didier Dubuy

Didier Dubuy  • Thanks a lot Sunil for this information; I Didn’t know she was in relation with Nicholson, an artist whom I personally cherish. Nor she met Brancusi, whose influence is obvious in 1935/36 works. What about relations with Henry Moore?


Sunil Vilas • Yes! Henry Moore, John Skeaping & Barbara Hepworth were part of leading figures in the ‘new movement’ associated with direct the UK during her earlier period


Sunil Vilas • Linda, thank you for your input. Perhaps you could add your personal comments that you could share with all the group members. As artists and creative thinkers, we must relate to all past masters or even current living artists of how they affect or inspire us today!

Gloria Maria Cappelletti

Gloria Maria Cappelletti • I love her works! We featured a photo gallery of Barbara Hepworth’s works in the Collector Tribune


Sunil Vilas • Gloria, welcome to our topic on Barbara Hepworth. We would be grateful if you would care to share with the group the single or series of sculptures that you believe made a big impression on you and on the art world and if you care to elaborate by adding why the sculpture belongs in the hall of Fame.


Sunil Vilas • It would be useful for all the members to make comments to also provide examples of work to add interest to our topic on Barbara Hepworth… Thank you.

Barbara Hepworth

BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903 – 1975)

Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) was born in Wakefield on 10 January 1903. Her father, Herbert Hepworth, would become County Surveyor and an Alderman. She trained at Leeds School of Art (1920-1), and while on a county scholarship at the Royal College of Art (1921-4), she met the painters Raymond Coxon and Edna Ginesi and sculptor Henry Moore. Hepworth was runner-up to John Skeaping for the 1924 Prix de Rome but travelled to Florence on a West Riding Travel Scholarship. After visiting Rome and Siena with Skeaping, they were married in Florence on 13 May 1925 and moved to Rome, where both began carving stone. In November 1926, they returned to London. Links forged through the British School at Rome with the sculptor Richard Bedford (a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum) ensured that the collector George Eumorfopoulos visited their studio show in 1927 and bought two works by Hepworth. The couple moved to 7 The Mall Studios in Hampstead in 1928 (where Hepworth remained until 1939). With Bedford and Moore, Hepworth and Skeaping became leading figures in the ‘new movement’ associated with direct carving. Successful joint exhibitions in 1928 (Beaux Arts Gallery, London and Alex. Reid and Lefevre, Glasgow) and 1930 (Tooth’s) consisted of animal and figure sculptures in stone and wood. They joined the London Group and the 7 & 5 Society in 1930-1. A son, Paul, was born in August 1929. Still, the marriage was deteriorating, and in 1931 Hepworth met Ben Nicholson (then married to Winifred Nicholson), who joined her on holiday at Happisburgh, Norfolk. She and Skeaping were amicably divorced in 1933. In 1934 Hepworth gave birth to triplets and married Nicholson four years later.

Hepworth and Nicholson revealed their move towards abstraction in joint exhibitions in 1932 (Tooth’s) and 1933 (Lefevre). This became the abiding direction of her work, epitomised by the pioneering piercing of the block, which coincided with experiments in collage, photograms and prints. Establishing links with the continental avant-garde, the couple visited the Parisian studios of Arp, Brancusi, Mondrian, Braque and Picasso. They joined Abstraction-Création and were significant figures in Paul Nash’s Unit One grouping and the associated publication edited by Herbert Read (1934). In 1935 they were instrumental in restricting the 7&5 to abstract work, thus paving the way for a fertile period of constructivism enhanced by artist refugees from totalitarian Europe (Gropius, Moholy-Nagy, Breuer, Gabo). This culminated in the publication of Circle: International Survey of Constructive Art (1937), edited by Nicholson, Gabo and the architect Leslie Martin, designed by Hepworth and Sadie Martin. The war curtailed such utopianism, and Hepworth, with Nicholson, evacuated to St Ives, Cornwall. They stayed with Margaret Mellis and Adrian Stokes at Little Park Owles, Carbis Bay. Domestic demands and lack of space restricted Hepworth to small sculpture and painting until she secured a studio on moving to Chy-an-Kerris, Carbis Bay, in 1942. Her first major solo exhibition in 1943 (Temple Newsam, Leeds) was followed by a monograph by William Gibson (Barbara Hepworth: Sculptress, 1946). Hepworth became prominent amongst St Ives artists, forming a focus in 1949 for establishing the Penwith Society of Artists with Nicholson, Peter Lanyon and others and helping attract international attention to the group’s exhibitions. Although Hepworth’s contribution to the 1950 Venice Biennale was dogged by comparisons with Moore, two retrospectives – in Wakefield (1951) and London (Whitechapel 1954) – and Read’s monograph (1952) confirmed her post-war reputation. She bought Trewyn Studio, St Ives, in 1949, where she lived two years later after her divorce from Nicholson. She visited Greece in 1954 in an effort to recover from the sudden death of Paul Skeaping (1953).

Hepworth was especially active within, and on behalf of, the modernist artistic community in St Ives during its period of post-war international prominence. Her experience of the Cornish landscape was acknowledged in the choice of titles for her works. In a wider context, Hepworth also represented a link with pre-war ideals in a social and physical reconstruction climate, exemplified by her two sculptures for the South Bank site of the Festival of Britain (1951).

If you want to participate in our topic, kindly use the form below. All comments will be reviewed by our panel… If accepted will be included.

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