Curved form (Wave II)

Barbara HEPWORTH: artist

Not On Display

About the work

Considered by many to be one of the great sculptors, Barbara Hepworth was born in the West Riding, Yorkshire, but is always associated with St Ives, Cornwall, as she lived and worked there from 1940 until her death. She studied at the Leeds School of Art and the Royal College of Art until 1923 and the next year went on a travelling scholarship to Italy where she stayed for two years and married the artist John Skeaping.

In 1931 with her second husband, painter Ben Nicholson, she was part of the surge of creative activity in Britain, when artists there took part in the shaping of international developments. Her meetings with Constantin Brancusi, Piet Mondrian, Naum Gabo, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso reinforced her own leaning towards abstraction.

She was a member of the Abstraction-Creation group in Paris and of Unit One, the London group of painters, sculptors and architects devoted to progressive movements. Henry Moore was a friend since student days and both represent an independent singularity of spirit linked to the native country of England, yet fundamental to humanity.

Hepworth proved that a woman artist, certainly one of genius, can have a rich family life in conjunction with creative artistic achievement; she wrote that after the birth of triplets her work intensified in abstract formality. 'Working in the abstract way seems to release one's personality and sharpen the perceptions so that in the observation of humanity or landscape it is the wholeness of inner intention which moves one so profoundly. The components fall into place and one is no longer aware of the detail except as the necessary significance of wholeness and unity.'1

Primarily a carver, Hepworth also worked in a wide range of materials and a range of activities including a series of drawings in the operating theatre of a hospital and the sets and costumes for a Michael Tippett opera. Her sets for Electra at the Old Vic drew on the theme of figure in landscape, a great influence related to her devotion to the landscape of Cornwall.

Innumerable honours were conferred on her and the last years of her life were prolific in realisation of her aims before she died tragically in a fire in her studio. Hepworth's work is true in archetypal significance throughout the development of theme and idea, from smaller pieces to large monumental conceptions.

Ella Fry, Gallery Images, St George Books, Perth, 1984

Reference: Barbara Hepworth, A Pictorial Autobiography, Moonraker Press, Wiltshire, England, 1977.
Curved form (Wave II)
Artist/Maker and role
Barbara HEPWORTH: artist
bronze, steel
24.5 x 43.0 x 39.5 cm
Credit line
Purchased 1963
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

This is one of the sculptures in our collection.