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Meet Barbara Hepworth digital exhibition goes live on Google Arts & Culture

10 Jun 2021

Marking the day (11 June) in 1964 when Barbara Hepworth’s largest and most significant public commission, Single Form, was unveiled outside the United Nations building in New York, The Hepworth Wakefield and Google Arts & Culture launch a major new online exhibition about the artist. The 'Meet Barbara Hepworth' online exhibition enables anyone, wherever they are in the world, to explore in-depth Hepworth’s art, interests, life and legacy.

The digital exhibition will reveal how Hepworth’s wide sphere of interests, as well as events in her personal life, influenced her work. This will include Hepworth’s 1954 voyage around Greece, drawing out extracts from the artist’s Greek Sketchbook and featuring such works as Coré (1955-6), inspired by the classical Greek koré and kouros figures she encountered there, as well as her brightly coloured drawing Santorin (1955). Hepworth’s little-known textile designs from the 1930s are also presented. Printing on fabric offered both commercial opportunities – some of Hepworth’s designs were realised as furniture fabrics and curtains – and new possibilities for artistic experimentation.

Hepworth’s interest in science and space exploration is told through her prints made in the late 1960s and sculptures Three Hemispheres (1967) which seems to echo the concave forms of satellite dishes, Cone and Sphere (1973) upon which the sphere appears to float and Sphere (1967), striking for its brightly coloured parts. The significance of Hepworth giving birth to triplets and balancing family life and work is also examined.

A range of Hepworth’s sculptures, including Mother & Child (1934), Curved Form ‘Pavan’ (1956), Single Form ‘Chûn Quoit’ (1961) and Spring (1966) have been photographed in ultra-high resolution using the latest Google technology to give the best possible digital experience. Viewers can get up close with the surface texture of each work as never before, making visible the individual chisel marks and surface patination, about which Hepworth cared deeply. Google’s ‘Art Projector’ also enables visitors to project the sculptures into their own environment through augmented reality.

Audiences will also be able to virtually walk through The Hepworth Wakefield’s major exhibition Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life , which spans all 10 galleries of the David Chipperfield designed building and new garden, using Google Street View.

Olivia Colling, Director of Communications & Development at The Hepworth Wakefield said: ‘Our partnership with Google Arts & Culture shares our curators’ incredible knowledge about Barbara Hepworth with a global audience and enables us to reveal little-known stories about this incredible artist. Hepworth was one of the very few female artists of her generation to achieve worldwide recognition, so we are delighted to be able to present such a fulsome picture of her life and career on this platform. We are grateful to Google for their support on this project, which pilots new technology to give digital viewers as true to life experience of sculpture as is possible.’

Visit g.co/BarbaraHepworth to discover the exhibition online. The Google Arts & Culture app is free and available online for iOS and Android