Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more Property of the Voltaire Foundation, University of Oxford Dr Theodore Besterman (1904 –1976), scholar, bibliographer and editor, pursued his many different career interests before moving to Geneva after World War II to dedicate his time solely to the study of Voltaire. There, he lived in Voltaire’s former home, Les Délices where he chose to found the Institut et musée Voltaire in 1952. Over the next decade Besterman started collecting, translating and publishing the works of Voltaire which was to consume him for the rest of his life. Besterman published one hundred and seven volumes of Voltaire's letters and a series of books, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century. For Besterman, Voltaire was a champion of freedom, reason and justice – a figure whose importance could not be forgotten and whose wisdom needed researching and propagating. His dedication to this cause was made evident in his wish to create not ‘just another museum’ but ‘to found a centre of research devoted to the great man’ (‘Le vrai Voltaire par ses lettres’ in Voltaire Essays and another, London, 1962, p. 112). The result of his commitment and fervour was an overwhelming contribution to the literature on the French philosopher and consequently our understanding of his works. Besterman chose to leave the Voltaire Foundation to the University of Oxford where he had received an honorary degree. This act of generosity was accompanied by a bequest to further his scholarly interests, principally the completion of his final publications. The TORCH Enlightenment Programme/Besterman Centre for the Enlightenment at Oxford still fosters research for the study of the Enlightenment in close connection to the Voltaire Foundation, which continues Besterman's legacy by publishing the definitive edition of The Complete works of Voltaire. The ‘Voltaire Room’ at Oxford, established at Besterman’s special request, provides open access to the principal materials for the study of the Enlightenment and hosts many talks including the annual Besterman Lecture. The proceeds of the sale of Maquette for State House (Meridian) will be used to continue to fund research for the publication of The Complete works of Voltaire.
Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)

Maquette for State House (Meridian)

Details
Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)
Maquette for State House (Meridian)
bronze with a green patina
17 in. (43.2 cm.) high, excluding composite base
Conceived in 1959 and cast in an edition of nine.
This work is recorded as BH245, cast 8/9.
Provenance
with Galerie Gérald Cramer, Geneva, where purchased by Theodore Besterman, and bequeathed to the Voltaire Foundation, circa 2004.
Literature
J.P. Hodin, Barbara Hepworth, London, 1961, p. 170, no. 245, another cast illustrated.
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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Anne Haasjes
Anne Haasjes

Lot Essay

In 1958 Barbara Hepworth was commissioned to create Meridian for the entrance of State House in Holborn. The commission came about through Lilian Somerville of the British Council, who said of it, 'for once these architects do not want symbolism or a subject or a theme but an abstract sculpture' (see M. Gale and C. Stephens, Barbara Hepworth, London, 1999, p. 182). In an interview at the time, Hepworth said, 'With this commission I felt no hesitation whatsoever. By next morning I saw the sculpture in my mind quite clearly. I made my first maquette, and from this, began the armature for the working model. The architect must create a valid space for sculpture so that it becomes organically part of our spiritual perception as well as our three dimensional life. To do less is to destroy sculpture and admit to an impoverished architecture' (see P. Curtis and A.G. Wilkinson, exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth A Retrospective, Liverpool, Tate Gallery, 1994, pp. 154-155).

Hepworth explained her choice of title to the architect of State House, Harold Mortimer; 'it refers either to an imaginary arc of longitude (quintessentially, the Greenwich Meridian) or to the highest point in the arc of the sun' (M. Gale and C. Stephens, loc. cit.). A few years earlier Ben Nicholson painted a work called 1953, August 11 (meridian) (private collection).

By January 1960 Hepworth had completed the commission and in March Meridian was unveiled at State House by Sir Philip Hendy, the then Director of the National Gallery.

We are very grateful to Dr Sophie Bowness for her providing information in preparing this catalogue entry. Dr Sophie Bowness is preparing the revised catalogue raisonné of Hepworth's sculpture.

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