Organic Vitality; Barbara Hepworth`s Art and Life
If I didn’t have to cook, clean, and breastfeed children indefinitely, I’d carve, carve, carve…” Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) wrote to E. Hartley Ramsden, an art critic. The sculptor had relocated from wartime London to St Ives in June 1943. With four young children to care for, frequently alone, there was little time for creativity. She worked late into the night or stole half-hours between childcare and household tasks. Hepworth’s statements encapsulate a struggle for many women artists in the twenty-first century to strike a balance between parenting and art.
The connection between Hepworth’s art & life
Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life, a new biography of the pioneering modernist sculptor produced to coincide with a major display of her work at the Hepworth Wakefield, highlights the connection between Hepworth’s life and her art.
Clayton brings together a variety of information, including historical press coverage of Hepworth’s exhibits, correspondence between the artist and her contemporaries, studio materials, and documents the artist kept about her works. The book takes us from her early life in Yorkshire to the legacy of her gallery in Wakefield, alternating biographical and historical context with artwork evaluations.
Life; A source of tremendous inspiration
As the preceding insight demonstrates, life could have an impact on art, but it could also be a source of tremendous inspiration. New ideas came through friendships with other artists. She painted her studio white after seeing Mondrian in Paris and began introducing color, as evident in later works such as Sphere (1967/1973). The book also illuminates the behind-the-scenes work that goes into establishing a creative career, such as forming artist networks and gaining the support of collectors, critics, and commissions.
How events affected Hepworth’s sculpture
The author explains how events affected Hepworth’s sculpture, such as the impact of the Cornish environment in works like Curved Form (Trevalgan) (1956), motherhood, an interest in music, and the monumental political and technological advances that swept society in the twentieth century.
Art was Hepworth’s life.
The two blended, fed into, and mutually extended one other throughout her career, from the smooth abstraction of Three Forms (1935) to the gigantic flattened, not quite oval shape of Single Form (1964). In an essay prepared for the 1937 group exhibition Constructive Art, she describes sculpture as a “specific plastic extension of intellect.
Vitality is a spiritual inner life, not a physical, organic attribute of sculpture… Vision is not sight, but rather the mind’s perception of it. A work of art has its own life and purpose because it discerns the reality of life, piercing the superficial surfaces of material existence.
Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life
Barbara Hepworth is now widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most prominent artists. This intriguing biography, which combines Hepworth’s public remarks with her private correspondences, provides an in-depth look into the incredible life, work, and legacy of this distinctive artist.
Modernist abstract sculpture
During her lifetime, Hepworth was chastised for her single-mindedness, with reviewers and pundits labeling both the artist and her work as cold and constrained. Her work and related passions have been missed due to the continuous focus on her modernist abstract sculpture from the 1930s and its relationship to the work of her male peers.
For the first time, this fully illustrated account of Hepworth’s life and work reflects her multifaceted and interdisciplinary approach, bringing together for the first time her interests in dance, music, poetry, contemporary politics, science, and technology; her engagement with these fields through friends and networks as well as her artistic practice; and the ways in which she fused sometimes seeming disparate fields.