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Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)
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Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)

Maquette for large sculpture: Three forms (Two circles)

Details
Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)
Maquette for large sculpture: Three forms (Two circles)
signed with initials and dated 'B.H./66' (on top of the base); signed and dated 'Barbara Hepworth 1966' (underneath the base)
serravezza marble
13.5 x 20.5 x 11.5 cm.
Executed in 1966, this piece is unique
Provenance
Gimpel Fils Gallery, London.
Acquired from the above by Piet and Ida Sanders in 1972.
Literature
A. Bowness, The complete sculpture of Barbara Hepworth 1960-69, London 1971, no. 146, n.p. (illustrated), as: Maquette for large sculpture: Three forms (Two circles).
Exhibited
London, Gimpel Fils Gallery, Barbara Hepworth, 10 October-4 November 1972, no. 26.
Schiedam, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Collectie Piet en Ida Sanders. Leven met kunst, 30 June-21 October 2012.
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.

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Alexandra Bots
Alexandra Bots

Lot Essay

A unique sculpture dating from 1966, Maquette for Large Sculpture: Three Forms (Two Circles) perfectly encapsulates the grace, elegance and obsession with form that characterises Barbara Hepworth's works; it comes as no surprise that this work was both exhibited and published during the artist's lifetime. This sculpture, as the title indicates, appears to have been conceived as a model for a larger work; however, the preference of Piet and Ida Sanders for sculptures created on a more manageable scale which they could incorporate into their home is here in evidence in their acquisition of this work from Gimpel Fils the same year that they had shown it in an exhibition dedicated to Hepworth's work. This sculpture, then, has an intimate monumentality.

In this sense, Maquette for Large Sculpture: Three Forms (Two Circles) recalls several of Hepworth's sculptures of the period, some of which comprised similar elements to those featured here. Some of these were monoliths and also echoed the rigid, rigorous compositions which often featured in her paintings from this time, while others featured more sinuous edges. In this, she was often following the suggestion of the materials with which she worked, still working as a pure sculptor and revealing her keen interest in direct carving, even during a time when she was, due to the demand for monumental works, also exploring the potential of bronze. In the clean lines and crisp geometry of Maquette for Large Sculpture: Three Forms (Two Circles), she is revealing her continued fascination with and celebration of the beautiful, luminous stone itself, not least by allowing various plays of light through the material and the circles.

Maquette for Large Sculpture: Three Forms (Two Circles) combines several key elements from Hepworth's output, including the restrained and refined geometry that had informed many of her works during the previous two decades in particular and also the interest in figures in space that was such a continuing source of inspiration to Hepworth throughout her career. This was an increasing focus for Hepworth following her observation of the crowds at the 1950 Venice Biennale - she became intrigued by seeing the people against the backdrop of architectural splendour in La Serenissima and began to explore the place of people in their environment more and more. In Maquette for Large Sculpture: Three Forms (Two Circles), the various elements themselves stand as substitutes for human figures, demonstrating Hepworth's ability to combine figurative and abstract visual languages alike in such a way that they also evoke the natural. At the same time, the forms clearly interact and are placed in relation to one another, indicating a form of understated narrative.

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