Barbara Hepworth

BRITISH, 1903–1975

Barbara Hepworth, who played a key role in the creation of a new sculptural style in England in the twentieth century, became renowned for sculptures that are often pierced by a hole, a device she conceived in 1931. Forms in Movement (Pavan) is a graceful, open work with interlaced, looped forms reflecting the artist’s interest in dance. The sculpture has a natural feeling to it, enhanced by the off-center placement and irregular shape of the three loops.

Hepworth began to work with cast bronze in 1956. The medium enabled her to experiment with a greater variety of shapes than stone and wood afforded, as well as to work on larger-scale and outdoor works. Forms in Movement (Pavan) exemplifies how Hepworth integrated her expertise as a carver in using a material that was new to her. The piece was created in three phases: the first incarnation was made in 1956 of metalized plaster (plaster built up over an aluminum armature), then carved to make the final form; a 1959 version was made in concrete; and in 1967, an edition of seven bronzes was cast from the concrete original.

Hepworth often talked about her interest in the figure in landscape, but she never represented actual objects or people. The abstract works instead become something like figures. In Square Forms with Circles, for example, the subtle placement of the square and rectangular forms and their delicately scraped and carved surfaces convey a mysterious personality. Placed in natural settings, her sculptures create a contrast between the geometry of their clear edges and nature’s curving shapes and lines.

Barbara Hepworth
Forms in Movement (Pavan), 1956 (cast 1967)
Bronze
29 ½ x 43 x 22"
Gift of the Ralph E. Ogden Foundation

Barbara Hepworth
Square Forms with Circles, 1963
Bronze
8' 6" x 58" x 27 ¾"