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DAME BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903-1975)
DAME BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903-1975)
DAME BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903-1975)
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DAME BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903-1975)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE FOUNDATION MIREILLE AND JAMES LÉVY
DAME BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903-1975)

Square Forms (Two Sequences)

Details
DAME BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903-1975)
Square Forms (Two Sequences)
signed, numbered and dated 'Barbara Hepworth 1966 5/7' (on the top of the base), stamped with foundry mark (on the edge of the base)
bronze with a green and brown patina
52 ¾ in. (134 cm.) high, excluding black stone base
Conceived in 1963-64 and cast in 1966 by Morris Singer Foundry, London.
This work is recorded as BH 331.
Provenance
with Marlborough Fine Art, London, where purchased by the present owners in January 1973.
Literature
W. Forma, 5 British Sculptors (Work and Talk), New York, 1964, pp. 11, 14, 19, working model illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture and Lithographs, Uttoxeter, Arts Council of Great Britian, Abbotsholme, 1970, n.p., no. 12, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: Recent Work, Sculpture, Paintings, Prints, London, Marlborough Fine Art, 1970, pp. 7, 13, no. 3, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth Exhibition, Japan, Hakone Open-Air Museum, 1970, pp. 74, 109, no. 14, another cast illustrated.
A. Bowness (ed.), The Complete Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth 1960-69, London, 1971, p. 35, no. 331, pl. 64, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: carvings and bronzes, New York, Marlborough Gallery, 1979, p. 28, no. 23, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, West Bretton, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 1980, p. 13, no. 8, another cast illustrated.
B. Hepworth, A Pictorial Autobiography, London, 1985, p. 119, another cast illustrated.
P. Curtis and A.G. Wilkinson, exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: A Retrospective, Liverpool, Tate Gallery, 1994, p. 134, another cast illustrated.
A.G. Wilkinson, exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: Sculptures from the Estate, New York, Wildenstein, 1996, pp. 44-45, 108, exhibition not numbered, another cast illustrated.
S. Bowness (ed.), Barbara Hepworth The Plasters: The Gift to Wakefield, Farnham, 2011, p. 39, prototype illustrated.
Exhibited
London, Gimpel Fils, Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture and Drawings, June 1964, no. 28, another cast exhibited.
London, Gimpel Fils, Barbara Hepworth, May - June 1966, no. 2, another cast exhibited.
Arnhem, Sonsbeek Pavillion, 5e Internationale beeldententoonstelling Sonsbeek '66, May - September 1966, no. 99, another cast exhibited.
Bradford, City Art Gallery, Spring Exhibition, March - May 1967, no. 190, another cast exhibited.
London, Tate Gallery, Barbara Hepworth: Retrospective 1927-67, April - May 1968, no. 131.
London, Syon Park, Open Air Exhibition, May - September 1968, exhibition not numbered, another cast exhibited.
St Ives, Borough Council, Bernard Leach, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson: Commemorative Compendium on the Conferring of the Honorary Freedom of the Borough, September - October 1968, exhibition not numbered, another cast exhibited.
Penwith, Penwith Society of Arts, Spring Exhibition, February - May 1969, no. 2, another cast exhibited.
Bath, Bath Festival, St Ives Group Exhibition, June 1969, no. 1, another cast exhibited.
Uttoxeter, Arts Council of Great Britain, Abbotsholme, Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture and Lithographs, January - February 1970, no. 12, another cast exhibited: this exhibition travelled to Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, February - March 1970; Nottingham, Castle Museum, March - April 1970; Ilkley, Manor House Museum and Art Gallery, April - May 1970; Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, May 1970; Coventry, Belgrade Theatre, June 1970; Shrewsbury, Art Gallery, July 1970; Letchworth, Museum and Art Gallery, August 1970; Kettering, Art Gallery, August - September 1970; Cardiff, National Museum of Wales, September - October 1970; Cambridge, Ede Gallery, October - November 1970; Eastbourne, Towner Art Gallery, November - December 1970; and Southampton, Art Gallery, December 1970 - January 1971.
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Barbara Hepworth: Recent Work, Sculpture, Paintings, Prints, February - March 1970, no. 3.
Japan, Hakone Open-Air Museum, Barbara Hepworth Exhibition, June - September 1970, no. 14, another cast exhibited.
New York, Marlborough Gallery, Barbara Hepworth: carvings and bronzes, May - June 1979, no. 23, another cast exhibited.
West Bretton, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Barbara Hepworth, July - October 1980, no. 8, another cast exhibited.
New York, Wildenstein, Barbara Hepworth: Sculptures from the Estate, October - November 1996, exhibition not numbered, another cast exhibited.
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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Angus Granlund
Angus Granlund Modern British & Irish Art

Lot Essay

Having dedicated much of her early career to direct carving in stone and wood, Hepworth turned to bronze in 1956. She discovered that the versatility and strength of this medium considerably broadened both the range and scale of her work. It simply would not have been possible to create the stacked vertical elements in Square Forms (Two Sequences) in either carved wood or carved stone, with each square set at a slight angle from its neighbour on the vertical plane, giving movement as each sequence rises. The present sculpture demonstrates Hepworth's masterful ability to achieve equilibrium between the demands of this new material and its expressive possibilities. Commenting in ‘Artist’s notes on technique’ (1962) in M. Shepherd, Barbara Hepworth, London 1963, the artist stated, ‘My ideas from the beginning are conceived for a particular material, either wood, stone, marble or bronze and the intense pleasure, to me, is in relating oneself to the ‘life’ in the particular material. I have used bronze and other metals only in the last seven or eight years, and when working with bronze I build an armature and work direct in plaster of Paris which I prefer to clay, as it is possible to cut it and get a surface nearer to my personal sense of form. Certain forms, I find, re-occur during one's lifetime and I have found some considerable pleasure in reinterpreting forms originally carved, and which in bronze, by greater attenuation, can give a new aspect to certain themes’ (S. Bowness (ed.), Barbara Hepworth Writings and Conversations, London, 2015, p. 162). Hepworth’s friend, the art critic Herbert Read, initially sceptical of Hepworth's use of this new material, remarked, ‘I have now come to realise that what I previously discerned as the artist's fundamental purpose, 'to infuse the formal perfection of geometry with the vital grace of nature' is as fully realised in bronze as in carved wood or stone’ (H. Read, quoted in exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, Valencia, IVAM, 2004, p. 67).

Although cast in 1966, the present sculpture was first conceived in 1963, whilst Hepworth was working on her largest and most significant public commission, the monumental Single Form, 1961-64, destined to be unveiled outside the United Nations Secretariat, New York on 11 June 1964. The sculptor made all of her bronzes by constructing an aluminium mesh armature and covering it in plaster with a spatula, but whereas the sculptor carved out the surface of Single Form using axes and other tools, she constructed the present sculpture out of eight individual square units and left the smears of plaster largely unaltered. Her evident exploration of surface within this open and linear composition underscores her preference for natural light. The rugged topography of the squares, which includes a recessed half sphere, catches the movement of the sun; the changing light and shadow lend vitality to the forms through the interplay of void and volume. In an unpublished typescript from circa 1959 on her working practice, the artist comments, ‘… in the latest bronzes I am aiming at getting, not only the qualities of molten metal and the poignancy of fire but also a tactile expression by contrast of part-carved and part-plastic technique in the plaster’ (B. Hepworth, quoted in S. Bowness (ed.), Barbara Hepworth Writings and Conversations, London, 2015, p. 130).

The majority of Hepworth’s surviving plaster prototypes form part of the gift to The Hepworth Wakefield by the Hepworth Estate. The plaster prototype for Square Forms (Two Sequences) survives and can be seen in the greenhouse, in situ at The Barbara Hepworth Museum, St Ives alongside the plaster prototypes for Sea Form (Porthmeor) and The Bride from The Family of Man (see S. Bowness (ed.), Barbara Hepworth The Plasters The Gift to Wakefield, Farnham, 2011, p. 63). Sophie Bowness comments, ‘Alan Bowness’s original idea was that these prototypes would be rotated with others then stored at the Palais de Danse [in St Ives], although in practice, this did not take place and they were given to the Hepworth Wakefield in 2011’ (S. Bowness, Barbara Hepworth The Sculptor in the Studio, London, 2017, pp. 118, 120).

The geometric structure of the present work, which is a marked departure from Hepworth's customary organic curves, recalls Constantin Brancusi's stacked primitive forms in his totemic wooden pedestals and works such as Endless Column, 1938 (Târgu Jiu, Romania). Like Brancusi, Hepworth also created bronze versions of her carved sculptures: however, the two sequences of rising twisting squares may also reference the double-helix molecular model of DNA, in which two chains of polynucleotides coil around the same axis. Indeed, James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins jointly received the Nobel Prize for discovering the double helix in 1962, just before Hepworth began work on Square Forms. Nature's diversity was an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the sculptor, as she noted: ‘In the contemplation of nature we are perpetually renewed, our sense of mystery and our imagination is kept alive ... it gives us the power to project into a plastic medium some universal or abstract vision of beauty’ (B. Hepworth, quoted in exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, Valencia, IVAM, 2004, p. 131). Writing in March 1970, Edwin Mullins observed that for Hepworth, ‘the maximum richness might be obtained by the greatest simplicity of means. This faith in the eloquence of the bare statement is a quality she had shared with the two artists who in their own achievements have been closest of all to her: the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi, and her second husband, the painter Ben Nicholson. The best of both of them is in the blood-stream of her art’ (E. Mullins, exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, Plymouth, City Art Gallery, 1970, n.p.).

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.
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