Overview

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Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF THE LATE LADY PATRICIA LOUSADASir Anthony Lousada (1907-1994) was a prominent figure in the art world during the post-war years of the 20th Century. As a partner at the legal firm, Stephenson Harwood between 1935-73, he came to represent the outstanding British artists of the day, including Barbara Hepworth; her partner, Ben Nicholson; John Piper, and John Hubbard. His numerous honorary appointments at The Royal College of Art (including Treasurer (1967-72) and Chairman (1972-79)); and at Tate, where he served on the Board of Trustees from 1952, eventually being appointed as Chairman of Trustees (1967-69) and remaining Chairman of the Friends until 1977, led to the recognition of his long service to the arts with a Knighthood in 1975. As a boy, his father, Julian introduced him to the artists of the early 20th Century, which formed his own collection. Among them J.D. Fergusson, who painted Anthony’s mother in 1915 in a portrait titled Complexity, while he was still a child. Fergusson’s Fruit in Bowl was inherited by Sir Anthony and would have been acquired directly from the artist around the same time (see lot 30). A lifetime of collecting followed his early experience and like his father before him, he became close friends with many of the artists that he admired. Sir Anthony’s first wife was the renowned stage designer, Jocelyn Herbert whom he married in 1937, until her success led to their divorce two decades later. Soon afterwards in 1961, he met and married Patricia Capalbo (née McBride), an American ballerina. Lady Lousada (1929-2019) had enjoyed a distinguished career in the ballet, helping to found the Ballet Society, later the New York City Ballet, and dancing in choreographer, George Balanchine’s productions, including his collaboration with Igor Stravinsky of Orpheus and Apollo. As a young woman, her beauty was widely admired in Paul Himmel’s iconic photograph of her as `Botticelli Girl’, taken as she stepped out of the water after swimming at Fire Island, New York. This image was featured in Edward Steichen’s The Family of Man exhibition of portraits at MoMA in 1955. She studied at the Cordon Bleu school in Paris, while modelling and taking up amateur photography before meeting Sir Anthony and moving to London with her two children from her previous marriage. After their marriage, the Lousadas enjoyed a long and happy union until Sir Anthony’s death in 1994. Their home on Chiswick Mall was a hub for the many friends and artists they loved to entertain, including close friends and neighbours, the painter couple, Mary Fedden and Julian Trevelyan. Patricia ran a dress agency from the basement in the early days, and began writing recipes which led to another career later in life when she was responsible for introducing American cuisine to London, and writing a number of popular cookery books, such as Pasta Italian Style (1991). Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture Oval Form (lot 17) was acquired directly from the artist by Sir Anthony. Family legend has it that Sir Anthony and Barbara had enjoyed a pleasant afternoon together in her studio in Cornwall, and she offered him one of her works as a gift. Sir Anthony, emboldened by the many drinks they had taken together, managed - very uncharacteristically - to pluck up the courage to decline the piece she offered and to ask for the present work, which he had admired from the outset. Hepworth happily obliged.
Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)

Oval Sculpture

Details
Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)
Oval Sculpture
polished bronze, on a wooden base
15 ¾ in. (40 cm.) wide
Conceived in 1943 and cast in 1959. This work is cast number 4, the artist's cast, from an edition of 4.
This work is recorded as BH 121 C.
Provenance
A gift from the artist to Sir Anthony Lousada, and by descent.
Literature
W. Gibson (intro.), Barbara Hepworth: Sculptress, London, 1946, pp. 62, 65, pl. 50, wood version (BH 121 A) illustrated on the dust jacket.
H. Read (intro.), Barbara Hepworth: Carvings and Drawings, London, 1952, no. 71a and b, wood version (BH 121 A) illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Hepworth, New York, Galerie Chalette, 1959, n.p., no. 5, another cast exhibited.
J.P. Hodin, Barbara Hepworth, London, 1961, p. 165, no. 121.3, wood version (BH 121 A) illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: An Exhibition of Sculpture from 1952-1962, London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1962, n.p., no. 6, another cast illustrated.
E. Newton, 'Rhythms of erosion', The Guardian, 10 May 1962, p. 7, another cast illustrated.
P. Rawstorne, 'The rhythms of Barbara Hepworth, Daily Herald, 11 May 1962, p. 4, another cast illustrated.
M. Levy, 'Impulse and Rhythm: The Artist at Work - 9', Studio, vol. 164, September 1962, p. 87, no. 833, another cast illustrated on the front cover.
M. Williams, 'Barbara Hepworth talks to Michael Williams', The Guardian, 17 April 1963, p. 6, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, Turin, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, 1965, p. 25, no. 4, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, London, Tate Gallery, 1968, pp. 16, 55, no. 40, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: 50 Sculptures from 1935 to 1970, London, Gimpel Fils, 1975, n.p., no. 7, another cast illustrated.
J. Burr, 'Immortality in Marble, Wood and Bronze', Apollo, vol. 102, new series no. 164, October 1975, p. 297, another cast illustrated.
C. McCorquodale, 'Barbara Hepworth: Gimpel Fils', Art International, vol. 19, no. 10, December 1975, p. 26, another cast illustrated.
B. Hepworth, A Pictorial Autobiography, London, 1985, pp. 49, 99, pl. 277, wood version (BH 121 A) and another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: The Art Gallery of Ontario Collection, Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, 1991, pp. 20, 23, no. 3, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: A Retrospective, Liverpool, Tate Gallery, 1994, pp. 72, 81-82, 163, no. 32, plaster version (BH 121 B) illustrated.
D. Thistlewood (ed.), Barbara Hepworth Reconsidered, Liverpool, 1996, p. 128, wood version (BH 121 A) referenced.
P. Curtis, Barbara Hepworth, London, 1998, pp. 7, 34-35, 56, no. 1, wood version (BH 121 A) and plaster version (BH 121 B) illustrated.
M. Gale & C. Stephens, Barbara Hepworth: Works in the Tate Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum St Ives, London, 2004, pp. 81, 84-88, 94, 106, 145, 232, 236, 249, no. 16a and b, wood version (BH 121 A) and plaster version (BH 121 B) illustrated.
S. Bowness (ed.), Barbara Hepworth: Writings and Conversations, London, 2015, pp. 95, 209, 283, wood version (BH 121 A) illustrated and plaster version (BH 121 B) referenced.
P. Curtis and C. Stephens (eds.), exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World, London, Tate Britain, 2015, p. 164, no. 88, wood version (BH 121 A) illustrated.
H. Bonett, 'The Sculptor as Archivist: Interpreting Barbara Hepworth's Legacy', Henry Moore Institute Essays on Sculpture, July 2015, pp. 26-27, no. 73.
S. Bowness, Barbara Hepworth: The Sculptor in the Studio, London, 2017, p. 88, fig. 89, plaster version (BH 121 B) illustrated.
Exhibited
London, Lefevre Gallery, Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture and Drawings, October 1946, no. 14, wood version (BH 121 A) exhibited.
New York, Galerie Chalette, Hepworth, October - November 1959, no. 5, another cast exhibited.
Toronto, Laing Galleries, Sculpture: Ten Modern Masters - Kenneth Armitage, Reg Butler, André Derain, Sir Jacob Epstein, Emilio Greco, Barbara Hepworth, Giacomo Manzu, Marino Marini, Bernard Meadows, Henry Moore, November 1959, no. 6, another cast exhibited.
London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Barbara Hepworth: An Exhibition of Sculpture from 1952-1962, May - June 1962, no. 6.
Toronto, Art Gallery of Toronto, Exhibition of Work by Barbara Hepworth, March 1964, no. 2, another cast exhibited.
Basel, Kunsthalle, Barbara Hepworth, September - October 1965, no. 3, another cast exhibited: this exhibition travelled to Karlsruhe, Badischer Kunstverein, February - March 1966; and Essen, Museum Folkwang, April - June 1966.
Turin, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, Barbara Hepworth, October - November 1965, no. 4, another cast exhibited.
London, Tate Gallery, Barbara Hepworth, April - May 1968, no. 40, another cast exhibited.
Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, A Tribute to Samuel J Zacks from the Sam & Ayala Zacks Collection, May - June 1971, no. 83, another cast exhibited: this exhibition travelled to Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, August 1971.
London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Painting, Sculpture and Drawing in Britain 1940-49, November 1972, no. 154, another cast exhibited: this exhibition travelled to Southampton, City Art Gallery, December 1972 - January 1973; Carlisle, Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery, January - February 1973; Durham, D.L.I. Museum and Arts Centre, February - March 1973; Manchester, City Art Gallery, April 1973; Bradford, City Art Gallery, April - May 1973; and Aberdeen, Museum and Art Gallery, May - June 1973.
London, Gimpel Fils, Barbara Hepworth: 50 Sculptures from 1903-1975, October - November 1975, no. 7, another cast exhibited.
London, Gimpel Fils, Barbara Hepworth, October - November 1994, exhibition not numbered, another cast exhibited.
Liverpool, Tate Gallery, Barbara Hepworth: A Retrospective, September - December 1994, no. 32, plaster version (BH 121 B) exhibited: this exhibition travelled to New Haven, Yale Centre for British Art, February - April 1995; and Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, May - August 1995.
London, Tate Britain, Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World, June - October 2015, no. 88, wood version (BH 121 A) exhibited: this exhibition travelled to Otterlo, Kröller-Müller Museum, November 2015 - April 2016; and Rolandseck, Arp Museum, May - August 2016.
London, Gimpel Fils, Modern British Sculpture, October - November 2017, 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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William Porter

Lot Essay


'The translation of what one feels about man and nature must be conveyed by the sculptor in terms of mass, inner tension and rhythm, scale in relation to our human size and the quality of surface which speaks through our hands and eyes’ (B. Hepworth, A Pictorial Autobiography, London, 1985, p. 53).

In the summer of 1942 Barbara Hepworth and her husband Ben Nicholson signed a seven year lease and moved into Chy-an-Kerris, a house in Carbis Bay, just along the coast from St Ives, where they had been living for the previous three years. Hepworth wrote of her delight, ‘A new era seemed to begin for me when we moved into a larger house high on the cliff overlooking the grand sweep of the whole of St Ives Bay from the island to Godrevy lighthouse. There was a sudden release from what had seemed to be an almost unbearable diminution of space and now I had a studio workroom looking straight towards the horizon of the sea and enfolded (but with always the escape for the eye straight out to the Atlantic) by the arms of land to the left and right of me’. By 1943 she was carving again and she commented, ‘It was during this time that I gradually discovered the remarkable pagan landscape which lies between St Ives, Penzance and Land’s End; a landscape which still has a very deep effect on me, developing all my ideas about the relationship of the human figure in landscape – sculpture in landscape and the essential quality of light in relation to sculpture which induced a new way of piercing the forms to contain colour’ (B. Hepworth, quoted in H. Read (intro.), Barbara Hepworth: Carvings and Drawings, London 1952, n.p.). Towards the end of her life in her Pictorial Autobiography, first published in 1970, the artist reflected, ‘At Carbis Bay, during the mid-forties, I did some of my best work. I had only a limited space: a back yard, a room only eight feet high, and endless complaints about my hammering! The sound of a mallet or hammer is music to my ears, when either is used rhythmically, and I can tell by sound alone what is going on; but I could understand how exasperating this could be to neighbours and indeed to the family’ (B. Hepworth, A Pictorial Autobiography, London, 1985, p. 49).

Oval Sculpture, carved originally in plane wood at Chy-an-Kerris in 1943, exemplifies the third shape which had had special significance for Hepworth. ‘The forms that have had special significance for me since childhood have been the standing form (which is the translation of my feeling towards the human being standing in landscape); the two forms (which is the tender relationship of one living thing beside another); and the closed form, such as the oval, spherical or pierced form (sometime incorporating colours) which translates for me the association and meaning of gesture in landscape; in the repose of say a mother and child, or the feeling of the embrace of living things, either in nature or in the human spirit. In all these shapes the translation of what one feels about man and nature must be conveyed by the sculptor in terms of mass, inner tension and rhythm, scale in relation to our human size and the quality of surface which speaks through our hands and eyes’ (B. Hepworth, A Pictorial Autobiography, London, 1985, p. 53). In spite of better working conditions, access to seasoned timber proved hard during the Second World War.

Matthew Gale and Chris Stephens explain, ‘In September 1943 she asked [Ben] Nicholson, then in London, to call a timber merchant as she had ‘a permit for English hardwood’, but soon lamented: ‘the outlook for my wood looks bad. I can get the wood but seasoned wood is extinct. Newly felled timber will split like hell.’ [TGA 8717.1.1.277 & 288] (M. Gale and C. Stephens, loc. cit.). In October 1946, she discusses her work, ‘The carving and piercing of such a form seems to open up an infinite variety of continuous curves in the third dimension, changing in accordance with the contours of the original ovoid and with the degree of penetration of the material’ (‘Approach to Sculpture’, Studio, vol. 132, no. 643, October 1946, p. 98).

Matthew Gale and Chris Stephens discuss the genesis of Oval Sculpture, ‘Following her first original bronzes two years previously, in 1958 Hepworth elected to make casts of selected earlier carvings as a means of increasing her output and, presumably, of further disseminating her work. She chose the first work to be cast – her 1943 Oval Sculpture [The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness] in plane wood with painted interior, which belonged to her friend Margaret Gardiner – because it had begun to split and she was anxious to preserve it. Brian Wall, an assistant of Hepworth’s at that time, has recalled her borrowing the sculpture from Gardiner and bringing the renowned plaster caster ‘Mac’ - Mancici from the Mancini-Tozer foundry in Wimbledon, to St Ives for the purpose. Mancini, according to Wall, was horrified when he saw the complexity of the piece to be cast and insisted it would be too difficult. Nevertheless, he made a cast of it – along with a number of other carvings – in Hepworth’s Trewyn Studio using a forty piece mould. Two casts [in plaster] were made: one belongs to the Tate Gallery and the other remains in the artist’s estate and is on display in the Barbara Hepworth Museum, St Ives. A polished bronze version was cast in the following year at the Susse Frères foundry in Paris and issued in an edition of four as Oval Sculpture [the present lot] […] In its employment of an archetypal organic form to express a natural, passive process of growth, Oval Sculpture may be seen to establish the tenor of Hepworth’s work for the subsequent few years’ (M. Gale and C. Stephens, op. cit., pp. 84, 88).

In 1967 Hepworth reflected on the form and genesis of this form, ‘This Oval Sculpture, which I carved in 1943, is, I think, one of my most religious sculptures and people may wonder why I feel this. It was made at a time of very deep despair and trouble when one of my children was gravely ill and I thought and thought what I could do which is helpful or useful and decided the only thing I could do would be to make as affirmative a sculpture as I could and as perfect as possible as a gift no matter what happened, but it did help me enormously because I realised that eventually I would find a way of speaking within these terms in my own work about my own particular feeling and religion. Artists are not gods – they are the servants of God (B. Hepworth, Viewpoint, BBC 1, 13 September 1967, quoted in Radio Times, London, 7 September 1967).

BH 121 C is the bronze version of BH 121 A, Oval Sculpture, 1943, carved in plane wood with concavities painted white; there is also a plaster version, BH 121 B, Oval Sculpture 1943, cast 1958, of which 2 casts are in the collection of the Tate and Estate. Cast 1 of the bronze edition is in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; on permanent loan to the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

We are very 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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