“Hepworth was quite formidable,” says US art curator / Entertainment / The Foreigner

“Hepworth was quite formidable,” says US art curator. Artist the Late Barbara Hepworth DBE went against current trends with her ‘Figure for Landscape’ sculptures. The Foreigner talked with the San Diego Museum of Art’s Anita Feldman to find out more about the Dame amongst current feuds. Christie’s in London recently sold one of her Figure for Landscape castings for a record GBP 4.17 million-plus. Kunsthall Stavanger’s decision to put theirs up for auction to raise money caused indignation amongst the western Norway city’s art community. Lawsuits aimed at stopping the sale failed, the wrangling continues, and discussions have now descended into personal attacks. Dame Hepworth (1903–1975) created seven casts. Three are in private collections, the remaining three are located at Britain’s Tate, the University of Exeter, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

hepworth, sculptures, stavanger, christies, auction, london



The Foreigner Logo

The Foreigner is an online publication for English speakers living or who have an interest in Norway. Whether it’s a glimpse of news or entertainment you’re after, there’s no need to leave your linguistic armchair. You don’t need to cry over the demise of the English pages of Aftenposten.no, The Foreigner is here!

Norske nyheter på engelsk fra Norge. The Foreigner er en engelskspråklig internett avis for de som bor eller som er interessert i Norge.

Google+ Google+ Twitter Facebook RSS RSS



Entertainment Article

LATEST:

}

“Hepworth was quite formidable,” says US art curator

Published on Tuesday, 8th July, 2014 at 10:18 under the entertainment category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 10th July 2014 at 08:10.

Artist the Late Barbara Hepworth DBE went against current trends with her ‘Figure for Landscape’ sculptures. The Foreigner talked with the San Diego Museum of Art’s Anita Feldman to find out more about the Dame amongst current feuds.

"Figure for Landscape"
Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE was not given the same regard as Yorkshire-born contemporary Henry Moore."Figure for Landscape"
Photo: Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE/Christie's


Christie’s in London recently sold one of her Figure for Landscape castings for a record GBP 4.17 million-plus. Kunsthall Stavanger’s decision to put theirs up for auction to raise money caused indignation amongst the western Norway city’s art community. Lawsuits aimed at stopping the sale failed, the wrangling continues, and discussions have now descended into personal attacks.

Dame Hepworth (1903–1975) created seven casts. Three are in private collections, the remaining three are located at Britain’s Tate, the University of Exeter, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

The cast originally belonging to Kunsthall Stavanger is number 6 of 7 and bronze with a green/brown patina. The work, conceived in 1959-60, is signed, numbered and dated 'Barbara Hepworth 1960/6/7', and stamped with the foundry mark ‘Morris/Singer/Founders/London’ on the base.

London’s Tate would not comment on their cast, the Hirshhorn Museum's was part of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s founding gift by Joseph H. Hirshhorn in 1966. Exeter University’s stands on The Queen’s Building Lawn at Streatham Campus, and is “a much cherished feature”, according to them.

It was the friendship between Dame Hepworth and the Late Canon W. Moelwyn Merchant, the University’s Professor of English between 1961 and 1974 that facilitated the sculpture’s siting on campus.

The San Diego Museum of Art acquired theirs in 1968 from London-based art gallery Gimpel Fils located in Davies Street just off Grosvenor Square. The US Embassy is also in the same area.

“It’s interesting that Hepworth, like Henry Moore, explores the interior/exterior form – an external shell opening up to reveal the inside already in the 1960s,” Anita Feldman, the Museum's Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs tells The Foreigner by phone.

A contemporary British artist expanding on this idea is Anthony Gormley with his series of sculptures called Another Place. Permanently-sited on northern England’s Crosby Beach near Liverpool, the cast iron sculptures are casts taken from his own body and are placed facing towards the sea.

“Gormley went into a meditative state for the casting of his own body in plaster to create a mould for the figures. This shows quite a special relationship regarding the sense of self with the body and void,” Anita Feldman says.

Figure for Landscape is the first example of Hepworth attempting the wrapping process in plaster for bronze, according to Christie’s. Moreover, British artist Henry Moore (1898-1986) – who Barbara Hepworth met at the Leeds School of Art in the 1920s while they were both students – was particularly concerned with the relationship between internal and external forms, as well as figure and landscape. Both went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London.

Hepworth explained in an interview with American poet, short story writer, and translator Edouard Roditi (1910-92) that her designs were borne out of nature and her sculptures modelled with a specific landscape in mind.

“My own awareness of the structure of the landscape… provides me with a kind of stimulus. Suddenly an image emerges clearly in my mind, the idea of an object that illustrates the nature of quality of my response” she said. This is quoted on page 200 of publication Barbara Hepworth works in the Tate Gallery Collection and Barbara Hepworth Museum St Ives (M. Gale and C. Stephens (ed.), London, 1999).

“Like Henry Moore, she wanted her works to be in public places. She felt the artist had an important role in society,” explains Ms Feldman, former Head of Collections and Exhibitions at the Henry Moore Foundation. “Both Moore and Hepworth believed art could play an intrinsic part in rebuilding communities, that art should be a focal point of modern life.”

What are your views on Dame Barbara Hepworth as an artist?

“Sculpting is quite a physical activity. A woman wielding tools like chisels for carving stone is quite a formidable thing. She was not given the same regard as Yorkshire-born contemporary Henry Moore; there was a lot of sexism at the time.”

“She had quite an interesting life, and 1930s London was a fascinating time. Many European artists such as Russian Constructivist Naum Gabo (1890-1977) who experimented with stringed sculpture and new materials, Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius (1883-1969), and Holland’s Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) were all living in the same neighbourhood of Hampstead in London.”

“The 1940s London Blitz forced Hepworth and her husband Ben Nicholson to move to St. Ives in Cornwall, while Moore went to rural Hertfordshire bordering the outskirts of London following bomb damage to his home and studio.” comments The San Diego Museum of Art’s Anita Feldman.

Both Moore and Hepworth grew up quite close to each other. Hepworth set up a studio in St. Ives in 1950, where she remained until her death.

As you are aware, Kunsthall Stavanger’s Figure for Landscape casting was recently sold at London auctioneers Christie’s. The art community here is still much divided about it.

“Disagreement happens whenever something changes. The issue of selling works from collections is very delicate at the moment, with museums reeling from a global recession. As a general principle, it is always better to hold on to prize works – in part because they will continue to rise in value, but moreover, a few strong works is better than many of less important quality.”

“A similar issue on a much larger scale is threatening the Detroit Institute of Arts. Moreover, the Delaware Museum recently sold one of its Pre-Raphaelite paintings by British painter William Holman Hunt (1827-1910), Isabella and the Pot of Basil (from 1868). This prompted ostracism from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). It [the Hepworth sale] is a real loss, and sad from every perspective,” Ms Feldman concludes.



Published on Tuesday, 8th July, 2014 at 10:18 under the entertainment category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 10th July 2014 at 08:10.

This post has the following tags: hepworth, sculptures, stavanger, christies, auction, london.





  
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!