• Impressionist/Modern Day Sale  auction at Christies

    Sale 2313

    Impressionist/Modern Day Sale

    5 May 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 421

    Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)

    Single Form (Antiphon)

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)
    Single Form (Antiphon)
    signed, dated, numbered and inscribed with foundry mark 'Barbara Hepworth CAST 1969 1/7 Morris Singer FOUNDERS LONDON' (on the back of the base)
    bronze with brown and green patina
    Height: 87¼ in. (221.6 cm.) (with base)
    Conceived in 1953; this bronze version cast in 1969


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    Among the most imposing sculptures in Hepworth's oeuvre are her "Single Forms"--tall, vertical works that evoke the grandeur and power of the standing human figure. These columnar structures possess a totemic character, which also derives from architectural elements, an integral part of Hepworth's inspiration and working process. Hepworth had long appreciated the importance of the sculpture and architecture of the ancient civilizations around the Mediterranean as well as from the soaring forms in Gothic architecture. In 1950 Hepworth exhibited in the British Pavilion of the 25th Venice Biennale, where she was inspired by the interplay of space between architecture and people walking through the Piazza San Marco:

    "Against the superb proportions of the buildings set in the expanded flatness of water...rising out of the ribboned canals where one is so aware of the magnitude of the sky, I watched new movements of people. The animation of the light and shadow over earth colors of black, white, grey, and red in the architecture was so vital in relation to the proportions of mass and space that every human action against this setting seemed to be vested with a new importance...All of these events pertained to what for me are the dynamic properties of sculpture. If human beings respond so decisively to mood and environment, and also to space and proportion in architecture, than it is...imperative that we should, rediscover those perceptions in ourselves, so that architecture and sculpture can in the future evoke those definite responses in human beings which grew with Venice and still live today" (quoted in H.E. Read, Barbara Hepworth: Carvings and Drawings, London, 1952, n.p.).

    Single Form (Antiphon) embodies a harmony and rhythm within itself; elegant and serene, rich and hieratic, it is perhaps a symbol of the integrated human being. The uprightness of the present sculpture is a reflection of Hepworth's enduring preoccupation with placing the human form within the surface geography of the world. Originally conceived and carved in wood in 1953, this bronze casting has made for a more durable version and demonstrates Hepworth's commitment to presenting sculpture in the open air.

    Provenance

    Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., London.
    Acquired from the above by the late owner, 1972.


    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the correct cataloguing:
    signed, dated, numbered and inscribed with foundry mark 'Barbara Hepworth CAST 1969 1/7 Morris Singer FOUNDERS LONDON' (on the back of the base)


    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from the Estate of B. Carlin


    Literature

    J.P. Hodin, Barbara Hepworth, New York, 1961, p. 168 (boxwood version illustrated, pl. 187).
    M. Shepherd, "Gleaming from the past," The Sunday Telegraph, 15 February 1970, p. 17.
    A. Bowness, ed., The complete sculpture of Barbara Hepworth 1960-69, London, 1971, p. 49, no. 490.
    O. Blakeston, "Barbara Hepworth, Gimpel Fils," Arts Review, vol. 27, no. 22, 31 October 1975, p. 630.
    W.J. Strachan, Open Air Sculpture in Britain, A Comprehensive Guide, London, 1984, p. 189, no. 429 (another cast illustrated).