Lithographs by Barbara Hepworth

By: Susan Robertson

Dame Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth, DBE (1903- 1975)

Our summer 2020 Print & Photography auction provides an exceptional opportunity to acquire original works by the important British Modern artist Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE (1903- 1975). The auction showcases two lithographs from the ‘Aegean Suite’, Olympus (Lot 2) and Desert Forms (Lot 3).

Lot 2 – Barbara Hepworth, OLYMPUS (FROM THE AEGEAN SUITE)

Hepworth began working on the ‘Aegean Suite’ in St. Ives, Cornwall in October 1970 and completed it at the Curwen Studio, London in June 1971 under the direction of Stanley Jones.

In her introduction to the ‘Aegean Suite’ Hepworth explained how she wanted to use the prints to explore ideas which she was then working through in her sculpture. Transparent films of colour seem to float over the ‘sculptural structure’ of the image, accentuating the contrast between smoothness and texture and creating the effect of the eye moving over the visual plane. Hepworth further emphasized this difference in texture by utilizing embossed relief in the disc-like shapes within the sheet of the lithograph, as can be seen in Desert Forms

Hepworth is recognized as one of the greatest British sculptors of the mid-20th century and one of the few female artists of her generation to achieve international prominence. She met fellow student Henry Moore at the Royal College of Art in London in the 1920’s and was married to two leading artists: British sculptor John Rattenbury Skeaping (1901–1980) and famed British artist Ben Nicholson (1894–1982). In 1931, while on holiday with Moore and other sculptors she met Ben Nicholson, and later that year she went to live with him. While visiting France, they met many members of the European avant-garde, including Constantin Brancusi, Jean Arp, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Piet Mondrian.

Hepworth frequently exhibited at the Marlborough Gallery in London by the late 1960’s. In 1968, a major retrospective exhibition of her work was held at the Tate Gallery, London. She died in a fire that started in her studio in 1975 at St. Ives, where she had lived and worked since 1939.

On June 13, 2019, Waddington’s was privileged to sell Hepworth’s limited edition bronze, Involute for $252,000 CDN from an edition of nine numbered bronzes.

This auction also highlights a number of leading Contemporary British artists, such as Elisabeth Frink, Richard Hamilton, Victor Pasmore and Henry Moore.

Auction Information

This auction is offered online from August 8 – 13, 2020.

Previews are available by appointment only.

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