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Exhibition of late works by Barbara Hepworth presented by The Hepworth Wakefield and Phillips

30 Jun 2016

'I don’t think anyone realises how much the last ten years has been a fulfilment of my youth’. Barbara Hepworth, 1971

This summer offers a rare opportunity to see the one of the most extensive exhibitions of works by Barbara Hepworth produced in the final decade of her life. This period was one of her most prolific and experimental, yet is often overlooked.

The special non-selling exhibition, Late Hepworth is curated by The Hepworth Wakefield and will be on display for seven weeks at Phillip’s European headquarters in Berkeley Square, London as part of a year- long partnership between The Hepworth Wakefield and Phillips to support the gallery’s fifth anniversary celebrations.

The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to see three of Hepworth’s major series of prints alongside the sculptures to which they relate, rarely lent from the gallery located in the birthplace of the world-famous sculptor.

Late Hepworth follows the artistic developments in Hepworth’s later years, focusing on the last decade of the sculptor’s life (1965 – 1975). Hepworth was extremely prolific during her later years, with Alan Bowness (Director of the Tate Gallery 1980- 1988) noting that “there are almost as many sculptures (made by Hepworth) since 1960 as there were in the preceding thirty-five years.”

Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, said: “This innovative partnership between a highly successful auction house and a leading public art gallery exemplifies the sort of new business model the culture sector needs. It is wonderful to see private funds generated from the art market going back into supporting a regional gallery such as The Hepworth Wakefield which does so much to foster new creative talent and engage audiences with modern and contemporary art.”

Peter Sumner, Senior Director, Head of Contemporary Art, Phillips: “We are delighted to be working with The Hepworth Wakefield on the occasion of their fifth anniversary. This project is a key part our worldwide programme of arts partnerships with the world’s leading art galleries and museums. Following the success of the Hepworth Retrospective at Tate last year, this exhibition is one of the largest exhibitions to explore and celebrate the final, most productive and experimental decade of a truly exceptional artist whose global reputation continues to reach new heights.”

Dr Sophie Bowness, Hepworth’s granddaughter, art historian and a Trustee of the Hepworth Estate said: “The work of the final decade of Hepworth’s life is often overlooked and this exhibition will feature a beautiful selection of sculptures in a variety of media. It will also be a rare opportunity to see the three series of lithographs and screenprints that Hepworth made at this time. A highlight will be a group of the late carvings in marble, a material that had special significance for Hepworth and that she gave particular emphasis to in her final years.”

These later works show Hepworth experimenting with new materials, working in bronze, slate and making prints. She also made many works in marble, a material she had been drawn to as early as the 1920s but had not always been able to afford.

In 1969 Hepworth made her first major suite of prints, Twelve Lithographs, which examined forms in her three dimensional work. She went on to make two further print suites Opposing Forms (1970) and The Aegean Suite (1971). All three will be shown here together.

Hepworth achieved international acclaim and recognition from representing Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1950 and winning the Grand Prix at the Sao Paulo Biennial of 1959. In the early 1960s she was commissioned to create Single Form for the United Nations building, New York and Winged Figure for John Lewis on Oxford Street. Her first major retrospective was held at the Tate Gallery in 1968 and she now has two galleries in the UK named after her – one in St. Ives where she lived and worked, and the other in Wakefield where she was born and grew up.

Image: Sun and Marble from The Aegean Suite

Simon Wallis, OBE, Director, The Hepworth Wakefield, said: “We are delighted to be working with Phillips for our 5th anniversary year. The best partnerships are those where there is a shared passion – in this instance bringing major works of art from our superb collection held at The Hepworth Wakefield in the heart of Yorkshire to Phillips’ beautifully designed central London location. Our partnership enables a broad new audience to experience these fine examples of Barbara Hepworth’s late works, while highlighting the significance of our growing collection, exhibited in one of the most elegantly designed and acclaimed public galleries in the UK.”