Barbara Hepworth’s ‘Conoid, Sphere and Hollow II’ features in the first monographic exhibition in Paris dedicated to the leading British sculptor, opening at the Musée Rodin on 5 November 2019.
About this sculpture
It is often noted that ‘Conoid, Sphere and Hollow II’ was made three years after the birth of Hepworth’s triplets in 1934. Much of her sculpture of this period consisted of three forms, which encouraged exploration of spatial relationships, tension and scale between objects. In her own words, Hepworth was interested in: ‘…the relationships in space, in size and texture and weight, as well as the tensions between the forms.’ She began to explore ways in which sculptural forms related to each other, much as people relate to each other. Her use of bold polished forms reveals the artistic influence of Constantin Brâncuşi (1876–1957), the Romanian sculptor who Hepworth had met on a visit to Paris with fellow artist and her husband Ben Nicholson.
This sculpture is one of Hepworth’s most famous works from the 1930s. It has featured in many exhibitions in Britain and Europe. In 1996 it featured in Un Siecle de Sculpture Anglaise at the Galerie Nationale de Jeu du Paume in Paris. More recently, in 2015, it was loaned to the Tate’s major exhibition, Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World which toured to Germany and the Netherlands.
Barbara Hepworth was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, and studied at the Royal College of Art in London. One of the foremost sculptors of her time, her work has been exhibited and collected around the world. In Paris in 1932 she visited the studios of leading French artists and in 1933 she joined Abstraction-Création, an international exhibition society in Paris. Although little known in France at the time, she mixed with the avant-garde artistic circle that included Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Hans Arp and Juan Miró.
The style of her work shifted towards abstraction and along with Nicholson, she established herself as one of a group of leading artists at the forefront of the modern movement in England. At the outbreak of the Second World War, the couple moved with their children to Cornwall. From 1951, after the dissolution of her marriage, Hepworth lived permanently at Trewyn Studios in St Ives.
In 1976, a year after Hepworth’s sudden death in a fire, her studio was opened as the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in St Ives. In 2003 the centenary of her birth was marked by a number of celebratory exhibitions, notably in Wakefield, Yorkshire, the city of her birth and in St Ives.
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