Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Barbara Hepworth: A Remarkable Dame

Recently a friend read the bio of an artist and expressed her great admiration. The artist? Barbara Hepworth. (1903-1975). From what my friend told me about Hepworth, I had to know more and wondered how it was I'd never heard of her.

Her story is about great artistry and achievement. English born, Hepworth trained in art at the Royal College of Art. Although she worked in various disciplines, she was best known as a modern sculptor.
She created many public works. Her most famous was the one she created for the United Nations in New York.

She was personal friends with Dag Hammarskjöld, the second United Nations Secretary, who died in a plane crash while on official duty. As part of the memorial to him, Hepworth was asked to design a sculpture.
The sculpture, "Single Form" (1961), was to acknowledge Hammarskjöld as a distinguished and respected peace maker.

Hepworth's sculptures and fame led to Queen Elizabeth II bestowing  the title of "Dame of the British Empire." It stands to reason that Dame Hepworth's sculptures are found in many of the most prestigious museums and galleries.

She accomplished all of this while raising 4 children - 3 being triplets. She dealt with the scarcities of WWII and the difficulties of making ends meet as an artist with a family. Hepworth rose to face all of life's challenges. (Below is a small sampling of her art - one of which is from her own sad loss of her first-born son. The title is: "Madonna and Child" (1954)

Title: "Pelagos" (1946)
Title: "Tide 1" (1946)
Title: "Winged Figure" (1961)

If you've ever in England, be sure to stop off at The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gardens, St. Ives, which is run by the Tate Gallery. Would you agree that Hepworth was an exceptional artist and a resilient Dame?


  1. Must admit I never heard of her, but I really like her Pelagos piece. Leon

  2. Loved the Barbara Hepworth blog. WoW! DP

  3. Pelagos has always been my favorite. It is in the Tate in St. Ives. There are several books on her life and her work. She was a student with Henry Moore and influenced him a lot. I really encourage anyone who is interested to visit her studio and outside sculpture garden inn St. Ives. For the first few years of the life of the triplets, she could only sketch her ideas--no time to sculpt. Several artists moved from London to St. Ives during WWII because she was there and encouraging an artists' community--away from the bombing. And, still she persisted! Now this is a role model!!!

    1. Thank you so much for adding to our knowledge of this exceptional artist. She was indeed a role model. R. Atencio

  4. Love this lady's sculptures...she was a great talent. Jx

  5. Thanks for sharing this, R. Yes... a most remarkable "dame". She obviously had much passion for her vision... enough so that she rallied through the difficulties in her life.
    As a woman and mother and an artist. I wonder how many times she was asked "who do you think you are?".

  6. What an amazing artist. MAR

  7. I am too a big fan of Barbara paintings and I have stored collection of paintings. Thanks

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