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    Sale 12223

    Modern British & Irish Art Evening Sale

    20 June 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 37

    Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)

    Six Forms (2 x 3)

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)
    Six Forms (2 x 3)
    signed, numbered and dated 'Barbara Hepworth 1/9/1968' (on the base) and inscribed 'MORRIS/SINGER/FOUNDER/LONDON' (on the edge of the base)
    bronze with a brown/green patina
    34½ in. (87.6 cm.) wide
    Conceived and cast in 1968 in an edition of 9 plus one artist’s copy.
    This work is recorded as BH 467, cast 1/9.


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    ‘All my sculpture comes out of a landscape – the feel of the earth as one walks over it, the resistance, the weathering, the outcrops, the growth structures – no sculpture really lives until it goes back to the landscape’ (Hepworth quoted in C. Stephens (ed.), Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, Centenary, London, 2003, p. 63).

    Predominantly a carver in her early years, Hepworth enjoyed working with rigid materials with her own hands. Following the successful example of her good friend Henry Moore, Hepworth began to have works cast in bronze during the late 1950s. She quickly discovered that the versatility and strength of this medium would considerably broaden the possibilities in the range of her sculptural motifs and, indeed, create more complex multi-form sculptures. During the 1960s, Hepworth increasingly merged the organically derived and primitive configuration of her earlier carved sculpture with more geometric, architecturally conceived forms, as an evolutionary process in her themes, and in part an acknowledgement of the architectural spaces in which they might be situated and viewed.

    Throughout her career, Hepworth sought to express or embody the harmonious integration of the human figure with the landscape. Regarding her specific inspiration for Six Forms (2 x 3), Hepworth explained the work in terms of a landscape, describing ‘how the angles at which the pieces are set, and the patterning on the bronze itself, were related to the experience of a boat-trip in the Scilly isles, off the coast of Cornwall, and in particular the swirling motion of going round and round in a boat’ (Hepworth quoted in M. Gale and C. Stephens, Barbara Hepworth works in the Tate Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum in St Ives, London, 1999, p. 246). Inspired by a specific encounter at sea, the patterning Hepworth refers to is incredibly evocative of the motion and movement of her seafaring adventure. The broad, arcing indentations in their main faces result from Hepworth’s carving of the original plaster, and they follow the swelling curvature of the central forms like waves. Coloured with a green patina, the variegated markings are diffused like ripples on water. Hepworth’s instructions to the Morris Singer foundry when casting the sculpture, were that the bronze ‘should be very lightly touched by liver of salts, with a touch of colour in texture’ (Hepworth in a letter to Eric Gibbard, 2 August 1968, Tate Gallery Archive, 965).

    Many works among Hepworth’s multiple-piece sculptures comprise several related upright forms that share a common base. Regarding the present work and its creation, A.G. Wilkinson explains ‘the 1968 Six Forms (2 x 3) not only announces the proliferation of forms found in a number of works from the late period, but also the vertical stacking and balancing of two or more forms—a reinterpretation of one of the major themes of Brancusi’s sculpture’ (in Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, Sculptures from the Estate, New York, Wildenstein & Co., 1996, p. 30). Though the superimposition of elements was a feature of the work of several sculptors in the late 1950s and early 1960s, William Turnbull for example, Hepworth claimed that it had been a concern of hers since the 1920s.

    The use of disparate shapes connected to create totemic-like forms featured heavily in her work from the 1960s and took on a greater complexity of arrangement and composition. While the elements of the 1960s works tended to be either geometric or biomorphic, in the case of Six Forms (2 x 3), the irregularity makes the sculpture appear especially fragmentary. A similar stacking up of elements was seen in larger, more totemic pieces such as Three Forms Vertical (Offering), 1967 (BH 452) and culminated in the figures of The Family of Man, 1972 (BH 452).

    Hepworth related a very similar, if not the same experience of sailing around the Isles of Scilly in relation to the origins of Curved Form (Bryher), 1961: ‘Bryher is being in the boat, and sailing round Bryher, and the water, the island, the movement … a relationship between the sea and the land’ (Hepworth quoted in A. Bowness (ed.), The Complete Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth 1960-69, London, 1971, p. 12). This earlier work was one of Hepworth’s first ideas for the Single Form series which resulted in the monolithic memorial sculpture for the United Nations Secretariat Building in New York, her largest and most important public commission. Cast in six sections, the final work incorporated the subdivisions into the principal face of the sculpture, as incised lines. Bearing in mind the artist’s practice of reusing fragments of earlier work in plaster, it is possible that Six Forms (2 x 3) are actually fragments of a larger work or maquette from the Single Form series, reworked to texture the surface and carve the holes. As Gale and Stephens explain, ‘the varying thicknesses and curvatures demonstrate that they can be arranged and reoriented to make a homogenous sculpture similar, but not identical, to the series of monolithic sculptures that culminated in Single Form, 1961-64 for the United Nations in New York. The constituent parts of Six Forms (2 x 3) could have originated from the fragmentation of such a model, and the discrepancies between it and the Hammarskj?ld memorial might result from practical decisions made during the scaling-up and production processes. Such an imaginative reworking of an earlier piece would be consistent with Hepworth’s economy of production and may be compared to the incorporation of earlier carvings in a bronze such as Hollow Form with Inner Form of the same year. That the object resulting from the arrangement of Six Forms is the closest to Single Form (September), the genesis of the memorial, would also support the notion that it originated at an early stage in the project’ (M. Gale and C. Stephens, Barbara Hepworth works in the Tate Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum in St Ives, London, 1999, pp. 246, 248). Hepworth was certainly working on ideas for Six Forms (2 x 3) in plaster as early as July 1963, as recorded in a photograph of the artist at Trewyn studio.

    Cast 7 of Six Forms (2 x 3) is in the artist’s garden at the Barbara Hepworth Museum, St Ives. The plaster is in the collection of The Hepworth, Wakefield.

    We are grateful to Dr Sophie Bowness for her assistance with the cataloguing apparatus for this work. Dr Sophie Bowness is preparing the revised catalogue raisonné of Hepworth’s sculpture.

    Special Notice

    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


    Provenance

    Private collection.
    Acquired by the previous owner through Marlborough Fine Art, London, May 1982.


    Literature

    Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, New York, Gimpel-Weitzenhoffer Gallery, 1969, n.p., no. 9, another cast illustrated.
    Exhibition catalogue, On board Q.E.II, London, Marlborough Gallery, A Selection of 20th Century British Art, 1969, exhibition not numbered, another cast illustrated.
    Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth Recent Work, Sculpture, Paintings, Prints, London, Marlborough Fine Art, 1970, pp. 7, 22, no. 13, another cast illustrated.
    Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, Plymouth, City Art Gallery, 1970, n.p., no. 51, cast 7/9 illustrated.
    Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth Exhibition, Japan, Hakone Open-Air Museum, 1970, n.p., no. 28, another cast illustrated.
    A. Bowness, The Complete Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth 1960-69, London, 1971, p. 47, no. 467, pl. 13, another cast illustrated.
    Exhibition catalogue, The Artist and the Book in France from Matisse to Vasareley and Barbara Hepworth Sculpture and Lithographs, Folkestone, New Metropole Arts Centre, 1974, n.p., no. 2, another cast illustrated.
    A. Bowness, A Guide to the Barbara Hepworth Museum, St. Ives: Trewyn Studio and Garden, p. 6, no. 30, 1976, another cast.
    Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: Carvings and Bronzes, London and New York, Marlborough Gallery, 1979, pp. 12, 29, no. 32, another cast illustrated.
    Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, Wakefield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Bretton Hall, 1980, p. 27, no. 17, another cast illustrated.
    D. F. Jenkins, Barbara Hepworth: a Guide to the Tate Gallery Collection at London and St Ives, Cornwall, London, 1982, pp. 20 (dated 1963), 38, another cast illustrated on the front cover.
    Exhibition catalogue, Sculpture in a Country Park: An Outdoor Exhibition in the Gardens of Margam, Cardiff, Welsh Sculpture Trust, 1983, p. 26, not numbered, another cast illustrated.
    The Tate Gallery 198082: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London, 1984, p. 122, another cast illustrated.
    Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth A Retrospective, Liverpool, Tate Gallery, 1994, p. 113, 165, no. 76, another cast illustrated.
    Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: Sculptures from the Estate, New York, Wildenstein, 1996, pp. 108, 49, not numbered, another cast illustrated.
    M. Gale and C. Stephens, Barbara Hepworth Works in the Tate Gallery Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum St Ives, London, 1999, pp. 215, 246–248, 249, no. 67, cast 7/9 illustrated.
    S. Bowness (ed.), Barbara Hepworth: The Plasters. The Gift to Wakefield, Farnham, 2011, pp. 61–62, 63, 162, pl. 55, another cast illustrated.


    Exhibited

    St Ives, Guildhall, Exhibition on the Occasion of the Conferment of the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of St Ives on Bernard Leach and Barbara Hepworth, September - October 1968, another cast exhibited.
    New York, Gimpel-Weitzenhoffer Gallery, Barbara Hepworth, April - May 1969, no. 9.
    On board Q.E.II, London, Marlborough Gallery, A Selection of 20th Century British Art, 1969, exhibition not numbered, another cast exhibited.
    Bath, Widcombe Manor, St Ives Group, 1969, no catalogue, another cast exhibited.
    St Ives, Penwith Gallery, Winter Exhibition 1969, October - December 1969, no. 4, another cast exhibited.
    London, Marlborough Fine Art, Barbara Hepworth Recent Work, Sculpture, Paintings, Prints, February - March 1970, no. 13, another cast exhibited.
    Plymouth, City Art Gallery, Barbara Hepworth, June - August 1970, no. 51, cast 7/9 exhibited.
    Japan, Hakone Open-Air Museum, Barbara Hepworth Exhibition, June - September 1970, no. 28, another cast exhibited.
    Winchester, The Cathedral Close, Ten Sculptors - Two Cathedrals, July - August 1970, not numbered, another cast exhibited: this exhibition travelled to Salisbury, Cathedral Close, August - September 1970.
    Austin, University of Texas Art Museum, Barbara Hepworth, September 1971, no. 2, another cast exhibited.
    Folkestone, New Metropole Arts Centre, The Artist and the Book in France from Matisse to Vasareley and Barbara Hepworth Sculpture and Lithographs, December 1974 - February 1975, no. 2, another cast exhibited.
    Galashiels, Scottish College of Textiles, Arts Council Scottish Tour, Barbara Hepworth: A Selection of Small Bronzes and Prints, April - May 1978, no. 22: this exhibition travelled to Inverness, Museum and Art Gallery, June 1978; Dundee, Museum and Art Gallery, September 1978; Milngavie, Lillie Art Gallery, September - October 1978; Hawick, Museum and Art Gallery, October - November 1978; and Ayr, Maclaurin Art Gallery, November - December 1978.
    London and New York, Marlborough Gallery, Barbara Hepworth: Carvings and Bronzes, May - June 1979, no. 32, another cast exhibited.
    Wakefield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Bretton Hall, Barbara Hepworth, July - October 1980, no. 17, another cast exhibited.
    Swansea, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Museum, Barbara Hepworth: A Sculptor's Landscape, October - November 1982, no. 22, another cast exhibited: this exhibition travelled to Bangor, Art Gallery, November - December 1982; Wrexham, Library Art Centre, December 1982 - January 1983; and Isle of Man, Manx Museum, February 1983.
    Cardiff, Welsh Sculpture Trust, Sculpture in a Country Park: An Outdoor Exhibition in the Gardens of Margam, June 1983 - June 1984, not numbered, another cast exhibited.
    Liverpool, Tate Gallery, Barbara Hepworth A Retrospective, September - December 1994, no. 76, another cast exhibited: this exhibition travelled to New Haven, Yale Centre for British Art, February - April 1995; and Toronto, Art Gallery of Toronto, May - August 1995.
    New York, Wildenstein, Barbara Hepworth: Sculptures from the Estate, October - November 1996, not numbered, another cast exhibited.