Norway Hepworth sculpture under the hammer / News / The Foreigner

Norway Hepworth sculpture under the hammer. Christie’s puts the much discussed work up for auction after it is sent from its permanent exhibition space in western Norway’s Stavanger. ‘Figure for Landscape’ by Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE (1903–1975) was first unveiled outside Kunsthall Stavanger’s building in 1968. Her sculpture hit the local headlines last and this month after the art association – formerly known as Stavanger Kunstforening – decided to sell the work to raise money. Protests                          

hepworth, sculptures, stavanger, christies, auction, london



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Norway Hepworth sculpture under the hammer

Published on Friday, 30th May, 2014 at 15:02 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Sarah Bostock   .
Last Updated on 8th July 2014 at 10:21.

Christie’s puts the much discussed work up for auction after it is sent from its permanent exhibition space in western Norway’s Stavanger.

"Figure for Landscape"
Dame Hepworth DBE (1903–1975) sculpted seven of these."Figure for Landscape"
Photo: Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE/Christie's


‘Figure for Landscape’ by Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE (1903–1975) was first unveiled outside Kunsthall Stavanger’s building in 1968.

Her sculpture hit the local headlines last and this month after the art association – formerly known as Stavanger Kunstforening – decided to sell the work to raise money.

Protests                          

The sale is intended to bring funding to maintain the building and operation, keep staff on, and put on exhibitions for further revenue. But the 41 to 15 vote in favour of selling Stavanger’s most valuable sculpture was not without repercussions.

Local art milieu members and representatives slammed the Board, calling the move “a theft”, and “madness”. Over 260 signed a petition, and Stavanger’s Galleri Oppdahl encouraged people stage a boycott.

Kunsthall Stavanger in western Norway
Kunsthall Stavanger in western Norway
By courtesy of Kunsthall Stavanger
Stavanger Art Museum (Stavanger Kunstmuseum) acting director Vibece Salthe told NRK about the sale that “there aren’t many sculptures of this type and quality here in the city.”

“There aren’t many of Barbara Hepworth’s works in Norway either. I think it's a shame.”

Stavanger Byselskap also filed a law suit against Kunsthall Stavanger trying to prevent the sculpture being sold off. Their 40,000 Norwegian Kroner donation (about 6,700 US Dollars/4,900 Euros/4,000 Pounds Sterling at today’s ROE) was used towards purchasing it. Stavanger District Court judges ruled against the plaintiffs and ordered them to pay the Kunsthall’s costs.

Stavanger municipality financed the rest of the purchase, contributing 51,000 Kroner (some 8,500 Dollars/6,270 Euros/5,100 Pounds) for buying the work (balance of 40,000 Kroner), and landscaping in front of the building where it was displayed.

“Unethical”

The sculptress reportedly sold her work to Stavanger for considerably less than cost price because she wanted Norway to have one of her works. Three other examples are placed outside the Tate Modern and University of Exeter in Britain, and the US’ San Diego Society of Arts, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. The remaining three are in private collections.

Dame Hepworth’s granddaughter and Hepworth Estate Board member issued a statement through Professor of Architecture Harald N. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Marku1988/Wikimedia Commons
Røstvik. According to NRK, the family contacted him as they were concerned, asking him to forward their views.

Barbara Hepworth sold a cast of Figure for landscape to Stavanger Kunstforening in 1968. She made a very significant reduction on the price, as it was for a public collection. We believe this reduction was half price.”

“In these circumstances, we feel it’s unethical for the work to be resold by Stavanger for short-term financial benefit. As this is the only Hepworth in a Norwegian public collection, it would be additionally regrettable to see it sold,” it reads.

Logical expression

Hepworth sculpture in place in Norway
Hepworth sculpture in place in Norway
By courtesy of Kunsthall Stavanger
The British Dame was famous for her abstract Ovals sculptures. She sculpted Figure for Landscape when she was 53, having seen two World Wars, two marriages and the death of one of her children.

In publication The War, Cornwall, and Artist in Landscape (1939-1946), it is said that she personally found that sculpting was the most logical way to express “the intrinsic will to live.”

“Sculpture is, in the twentieth century, a wide field of experience, with many facets of symbol and material and individual calligraphy,” Dame Hepworth is quoted as saying in Woman sculptor, source of her artist quotes on sculpture arts, work and life. (Studio International 171 – June 1966, p. 280).

“But in all these varied and exciting extensions of our experience we always come back to the fact that we are human beings of such and such a size, biologically the same as primitive man, and that it is through drawing and observing, or observing and drawing, that we equate our bodies with our landscape,” she also said.

Pushing boundaries

Christie’sestimate Figure for Landscape will sell for between 1 million and 2 million Pounds (about 10-20 million Kroner/1.67-3.34 million Dollars/1.23-2.46 Euros). It is cast six from an edition of seven.

Christie's in London
Christie's in London
Christie's
According to their press release, the work is “the first example of Hepworth attempting the process of wrapping the armature in plaster, which had dictated that the hollow cast bronze be made in two parts, ultimately demonstrating the artist’s ability to push the boundaries of materials. This work is being offered by the Kunsthall Stavanger in Norway.”

Figure for Landscape is one of 49 lots comprising works including painting Industrial Panorama by L.S. Lowry (1887-1976), and Sir Stanley Spencer’s (1891-1959) painting The Scarecrow, Cookham.

Two bronze sculptures also form part of the auction: Seated Man by Dame Elisabeth Frink(1930-1993), and Lynn Chadwick’s(1914-2003) Sitting Couple on a Bench.

The ‘Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale’ will take place on 25th June at Christie’s London premises at 8 King Street in SW1.

Last year’s auction of Dame Barbara Hepworth’s Bryher II sculpture there fetched over 2.41 million Pounds (more than 3.59 million Dollars).




Published on Friday, 30th May, 2014 at 15:02 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Sarah Bostock   .
Last updated on 8th July 2014 at 10:21.

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





  
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