News - Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life

Scotland’s largest ever Barbara Hepworth exhibition is to open at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh next month...

Press Release

The largest exhibition of work by Barbara Hepworth (1903 - 1975) to be presented in Scotland will take place at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two). Comprising more than 130 artworks, Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life will offer a comprehensive overview of the Yorkshire artist’s career, covering key events in her personal life, her involvement with avant-garde art movements and her wide range of interests. Running from 9th April to 2nd October 2022, the exhibition will include many of Hepworth’s most celebrated sculptures, several of which have never been displayed in Scotland before.

Organised by The Hepworth Wakefield in collaboration with the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh and Tate St Ives, Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life will allow visitors to discover more about one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. The exhibition will present a range of pivotal works including: modern abstract carvings that launched Hepworth onto the art scene in the 1930s; iconic string sculptures made during the 1940s and 1950s, and large-scale bronze sculptures from later in her career. Key loans from national public collections will be shown alongside works from private collections, as well as rarely seen drawings and paintings. Also in focus will be Hepworth’s diverse interests, encompassing music, dance, science, space exploration, politics and religion.

Exhibition highlights will include:
  • Some of the artist’s earliest-known paintings, carvings and life drawings.
  • The artist’s first ever set of prints, a series of lithographs made in 1969.
  • Mother and Child (1934) - a work created when Hepworth was pregnant with triplets and a key indicator of the development of abstraction in her practice, in part influenced by her travels to Paris in 1932 when she visited the studios of leading avant-garde figures including Jean Arp, Constantin Brancusi and Pablo Picasso.
  • A rare example of Hepworth’s first coloured stringed sculptures in plaster, made during World War Two, a period when sculptural materials were scarce.
  • A series of works known as Hepworth’s 'Hospital drawings', showing surgeons at work in the early days of the National Health Service. These works capture her belief in unifying mental and physical existence to create a productive and positive society.
  • A group of works which reveal the influence of the space age on Hepworth, including Disc with Strings (Moon) (1969), made in the same year as the first moon landing.

National Galleries of Scotland Director of Modern and Contemporary Art, Simon Groom, said: “We are thrilled to be hosting this extraordinary Barbara Hepworth retrospective, the largest ever shown in Scotland. Not only will it present a rich and detailed insight into her practice, it will also allow visitors to get to know so much more about the varied interests and motivations of a truly brilliant modern artist. We are grateful to our colleagues at The Hepworth Wakefield for their support and we cannot wait to share the exhibition with as many visitors as possible.”

Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life was curated by Eleanor Clayton in 2021 to mark The Hepworth Wakefield’s 10th anniversary. The exhibition will travel to Tate St Ives in November 2022 after its presentation at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

The exhibition’s curator, Eleanor Clayton, of The Hepworth Wakefield said: “I'm delighted that this exhibition celebrating the art and interests of Barbara Hepworth is going to be shown all over the UK, from Scotland to St Ives, so that many more people get to experience the full breadth of Hepworth's work and incredible legacy."

This exhibition would not be possible without the support of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life runs from 9th April to 2nd October. Find out more and book tickets on the website.

Images - 

Barbara Hepworth, Mother and Child, 1934.Pink Ancaster stone Purchased by Wakefield Corporation in 1951. ©Bowness, Hepworth Estate. Photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones.

Barbara Hepworth, Sun Setting from The Aegean Suite, 1971 Lithograph on paper. The Hepworth Wakefield (Wakefield Permanent Art Collection), ©Bowness, Hepworth Estate. Photo: Norman Taylor.

Barbara Hepworth at work on the plaster for Single Form, January 1962,at the Morris Singer foundry. ©Bowness, Hepworth Estate. Photo: Morgan-Wells.

Barbara Hepworth, Genesis III, 1966. ©Bowness, Hepworth Estate. Photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones.

Barbara Hepworth, Rock Form (Porthcurno), 1964 Plaster, painted green on the outside and blue/grey on the interior. © Bowness, Hepworth Estate Photo: Jonty Wilde

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