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Barbara Hepworth

Kneeling Figure

1903 – 1975

Kneeling Figure
Purchased with aid from the Wakefield Permanent Art Fund (Friends of Wakefield Art Galleries and Museums), V&A Purchase Grant Fund and Wakefield Girls’ High School, 1944 © Bowness. Photography Jerry Hardman-Jones


Kneeling Figure represents Hepworth’s early concern with carving directly in wood or stone, rather than first creating a clay maquette, as well as the principle of ‘truth to materials’. The natural vertical form of the wood lent itself to the representation of a kneeling figure, while the varied nature of the grain and sequence of knots dictated its outcome.

As with many of her contemporaries, Hepworth was interested in the sculpture of early non-Western cultures, evident here.

Kneeling Figure was acquired by Ernest Musgrave, the inaugural Director of the former Wakefield Art Gallery following Hepworth’s first exhibition in her home town in 1944.