Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)
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Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)

Figure for Landscape

Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)
Figure for Landscape
signed, numbered and dated 'Barbara Hepworth 1960/6/7' and stamped with the foundry mark ‘MORRIS/SINGER/FOUNDERS/LONDON' (on the base)
bronze with a green/brown patina
102 3/8 in. (260 cm.) high
Conceived in 1959-60.
This work is recorded as BH287, cast 6/7.
Acquired from the artist direct in 1968.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth: An Exhibition of Sculpture from 1952-1962, London, Whitechapel Gallery, 1962, no. 60, another cast illustrated.
G.S. Whittet, ‘You Can’t Write Off the British’, Studio, vol. 164, no. 832, August 1962, p. 72, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, Otterlo, Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, British Council touring exhibition, 1965, no. 26, another cast illustrated.
R.W.D. Oxenaar, ‘Barbara Hepworth: Mens, beeld en landschap’, Museumjournal voor Moderne Kunst, vol. 10, no. 6, June 1965, p.162, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, New York, Malborough-Gerson Gallery, 1966, no. 3, another cast illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Barbara Hepworth, London, Tate Gallery, 1968, no. 108, p. 35, another cast illustrated.
Barbara Hepworth: A Pictorial Autobiography, 1970, p. 110, another cast illustrated.
A. Bowness, The complete sculpture of Barbara Hepworth 1960-69, London, 1971, p. 30, no. 287, pls. 28 and 29, another cast illustrated.
H.C. Merillat, Modern Sculpture : The New Old Masters, 1974, pp. 113, 142-143, pl. 2, another cast illustrated on the cover.
Exhibition catalogue, Inaugural Exhibition, Washington D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, 1974, no. 630, another cast illustrated.
M.A. Robinette, Outdoor Sculpture: Object and Environment, 1976, p. 62, another cast illustrated.
N. Cusick, ‘Three in Washington D.C.’ Women Artists News, vol. 7, no. 3, Autumn 1981, p. 9, another cast illustrated.
D. Fraser Jenkins, Barbara Hepworth: A Guide to the Tate Gallery Collection at London and St Ives, Cornwall, 1982, p. 33, another cast illustrated.
Tate Gallery Acquisitions, Tate Gallery Acquisitions 1980-2, 1984, p. 117, another cast illustrated.
W.J. Strachan, Open Air Sculpture in Britain: A Comprehensive Guide, 1984, pp. 98-99, no. 191, another cast illustrated.
P. Davies and T. Knipe (eds.), A Sense of Space: Sculpture in Landscape, 1984, p. 27, another cast illustrated.
M. Williams, People and Places in Cornwall, 1985, p. 59, another cast illustrated.
A.M. Hammacher, Barbara Hepworth, London, 1987, pp. 132-133, 156, pls. 108 and 134, another cast illustrated.
P. Fuller, ‘The Visual Arts’ in Boris Ford (ed.), Cambridge Guide to the Arts in Britain, vol. 9: Since the Second World War, 1988, p. 101, another cast illustrated.
M. Tooby, An Illustrated Companion to the Tate St Ives, 1993, p. 13, another cast illustrated.
P. Curtis, St Ives Artists: Barbara Hepworth, 1998, p. 47.
M. Gale and C. Stephens, Barbara Hepworth: Works in the Tate Gallery Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum St Ives, London, 1999, pp. 200-202, no. 52, another cast illustrated.
M. Phillips and C. Stephens, Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden, London, 2002, p. 43.
S. Bowness, Barbara Hepworth: The Plasters The Gift to Wakefield, Surrey, 2011, p. 116, another cast illustrated.

London, Gimpel Fils, Barbara Hepworth, May – June 1961, no. 18, another cast exhibited.
Amsterdam, Keukenhof and Breda, Netherlands Art Foundation, summer 1962, another cast exhibited.
London, Whitechapel Gallery, Barbara Hepworth: An Exhibition of Sculpture from 1952-1962, May – June 1962, no. 60, another cast exhibited.
Otterlo, Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, British Council touring exhibition, Barbara Hepworth, May – July, 1965, no. 26, another cast exhibited.
New York, Malborough-Gerson Gallery, Barbara Hepworth, April – May 1966, no. 3, another cast exhibited.
London, Tate Gallery, Barbara Hepworth, April – May 1968, no. 108, another cast exhibited.
London, St Paul’s Churchyard, Sculpture Exhibition: City of London Festival, June 1968, no. 18, another cast exhibited.
Washington D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Inaugural Exhibition, October 1974 – September 1975, no. 630, another cast exhibited.
Washington D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Barbara Hepworth from the Museum Collection, April – July 1981, not numbered, another cast exhibited.
Stavanger, Kunstforening, 1968-2014.
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.


Figure for Landscape is a commanding presence. Conceived in 1959-60, it was created in one of Barbara Hepworth’s most productive periods. During this time Hepworth undertook a series of monumental bronze commissions, which included the celebrated architectural works Meridian, 1958-60 and Single Form, 1961-4. Although sharing their architectural stature, Figure for Landscape remained within the limitations of her workshop and within the context of nature.

Hepworth discussed the long-lasting affiliation between her work and landscape. In an interview with Edouard Roditi she explained that her sculptures were modelled with a specific landscape in mind, her designs borne out of nature, she revealed, ‘My own awareness of the structure of the landscape… provides me with a kind of stimulus. Suddenly an image emerges clearly in my mind, the idea of an object that illustrates the nature of quality of my response’ (Barbara Hepworth in M. Gale and C. Stephens (ed.), Barbara Hepworth works in the Tate Gallery Collection and Barbara Hepworth Museum St Ives, London, 1999, p. 200). The relationship between the figure and the landscape was especially poignant for Hepworth who explored this connection throughout her career. She remembered a moment in Greece when she saw that the figure and the landscape were integrated, seeing the figure as central to the environment. Witnessing a solitary priest on the Greek island of Patmos she recalled:

“This single human figure then seemed to me to give the scale to the whole universe, and this is exactly what a sculpture should suggest in its relationship to its surroundings: it should seem to be at the centre of the globe, compelling the whole world around it to rotate, as it were, like a system of planets around the central sun.”(ibid)

Hepworth discovered that this dual quality between figure and landscape existed as much at home in Cornwall as it did in the Neolithic stones of Greece, referring to the standing stones, jutting from the surrounding hills, as figures. However, for Hepworth, the desire to convey this affiliation went deeper than mere appearance, she wanted her designs to speak to people. She explained the importance of a rhetoric piece; she stated that, ‘To resolve the image so that it has something affirmative to say is to my mind the only point’ (ibid). The placement of her sculptures within a specific location existed in her earlier works, such as Curved Form (Trevalgan), 1956, which offered, if not somewhat abstractly, the feeling of being in a particular landscape. The notion that these ideas are channelled into Figure for Landscape is acknowledged in the explicit title and is imbued in its form. The organic vertical mass sits harmoniously within its landscape, it succeeds in centralising man within his environment where earlier works, such as Single Form (Eikon), 1937–38, fell short. Its undulating form gives it the appearance of emerging from the landscape, rising up out of the earth.

One of Hepworth’s most successful techniques at establishing this relationship between landscape and figure was her interplay between the hollow and solid. Figure for Landscape is a prime example of the powerful effect that this juxtaposition can have, displaying a series of central apertures, which stands in contrast to her later sculpture, such as Curved Form (Bryher II), 1961, where one single porthole is employed. Deploying the light to filter through the heart of the sculpture Hepworth brings an inner life to the enclosed form. Hepworth described this process as conveying, ‘a sense of being contained by a form as well as containing it’ (ibid).

Figure for Landscape is the first example of Hepworth attempting the wrapping process in plaster for bronze. Although Hepworth employed practiced techniques, such as hollowing, she was not afraid to diversify and push the boundaries of her materials. Taking the contemporary marble Image II, the guarea Pierced Form (Epidauros) and the pure clean aesthetic of the bronze Single Form (Chûn Quoit), we can see the range of her stylistic experimentation. The particular balance in Figure for Landscape shows Hepworth’s growth as an artist and invites comparisons with the work of others. The relationship between figure and landscape was of particular concern to Henry Moore, whose works took on a specifically female embodiment, as seen in the organic, curved and hollowed form of the Reclining Figure (External Form), 1953–54, a work she would have no doubt seen. There is also a nod to Auguste Rodin’s famous Balzac, 1892–97, in which the figure is wrapped in a gown, mirroring the shape of Hepworth’s equally monumental sculpture. This comparison encouraged Herbert Merillat to comment that Hepworth’s present work was, ‘definitely human in contour, suggesting a mummy case’ (ibid, p. 202). It is likely that Hepworth was also inspired by Jean Arp’s abstract Ptolemy, 1953, which manipulated space and discussed the duality between interior and exterior and the interplay it could have within three-dimensional form. An illustration of Arp’s sculpture served as a frontispiece for Herbert Read’s The Art of Sculpture, 1956, of which Hepworth was a joint dedicatee with Gabo and Moore. Hepworth continued to experiment with the motifs and processes assumed in Figure for Landscape, seen in the later examples of Sea Form (Atlantic), 1964 and Rock Form (Porthcurno), 1964, where the relationship between the figure and landscape is once again explored through upright figurative masses, which now focus on the ideas of penetration and opening rather than thoughts of enclosure that occupied her earlier works. The creation of Figure for Landscape followed a method established since 1956, where plaster was applied to an expanded aluminium armature. Her assistants, Brian Wall and Tommy Rowe recalled making the armature and assisting Hepworth with the application of the plaster. Figure for Landscape had to be structurally sound to support the weight of the monumental piece; two curved cross-braces provide additional strength, with the broad strut which sits above the lower hole in the back and the diagonal strip that bridges the front opening creating support to its colossal form. To create the rich textured surface the plaster was generously and rigorously applied and then carved, the process of which Hepworth relayed in a letter to Read. We can see this carving most particularly in the ‘shoulders’ of the piece, an effect which Matthew Gale and Chris Stephens suggest may have been achieved with the aid of the newly developed ‘surform’, a multi-toothed plane, samples of which were supplied to the artist by the inventor.

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