DAME BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903-1975)
DAME BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903-1975)
DAME BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903-1975)
DAME BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903-1975)
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DAME BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903-1975)

Involute II

Details
DAME BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903-1975)
Involute II
numbered '6/6' (on the side of the base)
bronze with a brown and green patina
16 1/4 in. (41.3 cm.) high, including base
Conceived in 1956.
This work is recorded as BH 218.
Provenance
with Gimpel Fils, London, where aquired by E. Somer, Bermuda, in November 1965.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 9 May 2007, lot 301, where purchased by the previous owner.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 25 November 2015, lot 12, where purchased by the present owner.
Literature
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, Zürich, Galerie Charles Lienhard, 1960, n.p., no. 3, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Sculpture 1961, Cardiff, Arts Council of Great Britain, National Museum of Wales, 1961, n.p., no. 18, pl. 2, another cast illustrated.
J.P. Hodin, Barbara Hepworth, Neuchâtel, 1961, p. 169, no. 218, another cast illustrated.
Belfast, Queens University, 'Abstract Form and Life': Sculpture by Barbara Hepworth and Biological Models, April 1962, no. 3, as '1959'.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: An Exhibition of Sculpture from 1952-1962, London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1962, no. 20, another cast illustrated.
Cornwall Education Committee, Works of Art for Schools, Falmouth, 1980, pp. 5, 37, no. 1 (group G), another cast illustrated on the cover.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: A Sculptor's Landscape 1934-1974, Swansea, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Museum, 1982, no. 8, another cast illustrated.
Tate Gallery, The Tate Gallery Acquisitions 1982-84, London, 1986, p. 198, no. T03749, another cast illustrated.
A.G. Wilkinson, 'Cornwall and the Sculpture of Landscape: 1939-1975' in P. Curtis and A.G. Wilkinson, exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: A Retrospective, Liverpool, Tate Gallery, 1994, p. 102.
M. Gale and C. Stephens, Barbara Hepworth: Works in the Tate Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum St Ives, London, 2004, pp. 151-153, 249, no. 35, another cast illustrated.
S. Bowness (ed.), Barbara Hepworth: The Plasters The Gift to Wakefield, Farnham, 2011, p, 60, pl. 54, another cast illustrated.
S. Bowness, Barbara Hepworth: The Sculptor in the Studio, London, 2017, pp. 75-76, another cast illustrated.
E. Clayton, Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life, London, 2021, p. 200, another cast illustrated.
Exhibited
Nottingham, Arts Council of Great Britain, Castle Museum, Contemporary British Art, May - June 1957, another cast exhibited; this exhibition travelled to Southampton, Art Gallery, June - July 1957; Cardiff, Bute Park, July - August 1957; Penzance, Penlee House, August - September 1957; Cheltenham, Imperial Gardens, September - October 1957.
London, Gimpel Fils, Recent Works by Barbara Hepworth, June 1958, no. 3, another cast exhibited.
Brussels, British Embassy, A Private Exhibition of Contemporary British Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings, summer 1958, no. 15, another cast exhibited.
Leeds, City Art Gallery, Modern Sculpture, October - November 1958, no. 34, another cast exhibited.
New York, Galerie Chalette, Hepworth, October - November 1959, no. 16, another cast exhibited.
Zürich, Galerie Charles Lienhard, Barbara Hepworth, October 1960, no. 3, another cast exhibited.
Cardiff, Arts Council of Great Britain, National Museum of Wales, Sculpture 1961, July - September 1961, no. 18, another cast exhibited: this exhibition travelled to Swansea, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, September; Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, October; and Bangor, University College, November.
Belfast, Queens University, 'Abstract Form and Life': Sculpture by Barbara Hepworth and Biological Models, April 1962, no. 3, as '1959'.
London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Barbara Hepworth: An Exhibition of Sculpture from 1952-1962, May - June 1962, no. 20, another cast exhibited.
London, Gimpel Fils, Barbara Hepworth, October - November 1972, no. 3, another cast exhibited.
Galashiels, Arts Council of Great Britain, Scottish College of Textiles, Barbara Hepworth: A Selection of Small Bronzes and Prints, April - May 1978, no. 8, another cast exhibited: 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.
Swansea, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Museum, Barbara Hepworth: A Sculptor's Landscape 1934-1974, October - November 1982, no. 8, another cast exhibited: this exhibition travelled to Bangor, Art Gallery, November - December 1982; Wrexham, Library Art Centre, December 1982 - January 1983; and lsle of Man, Manx Museum, February 1983.
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.

Brought to you by

Angus Granlund
Angus Granlund Director, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

The mid-1950s was a highly creative and prolific period for Hepworth, when her work was beginning to receive international acclaim. It was in 1956 that she began to work in bronze, and the possibilities of working in the medium opened up a new world of opportunity, including the chance to create monumental work that had never been available to her before, as well as meeting some of the increased demand for her work.

The transition to working in bronze, alongside direct carving, was greatly facilitated by the fact Hepworth created her works in plaster before casting them, allowing her even more control than just carving in wood and stone. As J.P. Hodin comments, ‘The sensuous and organic qualities of marble, of stone and wood in general fascinated her to such a degree that she never expected to find, as she did in 1956, a way of working in metal which would give her the same feeling which she wanted to convey in her sculpture, the feeling of innate tactile experiences. But by cutting sheets of metal direct and working on them with file and abrasives so that the surface became personal, she was led on to a way of working directly in plaster which allowed her not only the fresh texture of paint and colour but also the rubbed and carved forms in contrast, which were connected in her mind with the process of fire and molten metal as well as the hardening process of its cooling. It was this that enabled her to evoke in bronze those images which belonged to the pattern of her carving’ (J.P. Hodin, Barbara Hepworth, London, 1961, p. 21).

‘Involute’ is defined in geometry as the locus of a point fixed on a straight line that rolls without sliding on a curve and is in the plane of that curve. Involute is a title shared by a number of carvings and bronzes executed by Hepworth in the 1940s and 1950s, that together form a loosely related group of works. Hepworth explored the theme with varying degrees of abstraction whilst never losing sight of the importance of the emotional relationship to the world around her, expressed through her work and engagement with the materials used.

What is most striking about Involute II is the relationship between form and space, the interior and exterior. Indeed, this became of utmost concern for Hepworth from 1931, when she first introduced the notion of the ‘hole’ in her work Pierced Form (destroyed during the war). From this point on the hole, or aperture became a defining characteristic of her work, which in turn transformed the notions of space and form in 20th Century British sculpture. In Involute II Hepworth utilises the furled form with its enclosing, folded sides to reveal an open centre in which light can filter through. As seen in the present work, space is now inseparable from form, with the hollow centre highlighting the tension of volume in space and the delineation of line and plane. There remains a symbolic aspect to her work, with the curled form being indicative of the caves and waters of Cornwall where she lived, and the spiralled shell forms she found upon the shores. Alan Wilkinson reiterates, ‘Hepworth’s sculptures should be perceived as semi-abstract equivalents of elements of landscape and architecture, and of bodily sensations in relation to them. They are evocative rather than literal representations of the waves breaking on Porthmeor beach’ (A.G. Wilkinson, Barbara Hepworth, Toronto, 1991, p. 22).

Hepworth produced six bronze casts of Involute II, of which three are believed to remain in private hands.

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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