Single Form (Eikon) signed, numbered 3/7, and dated 1937-38 (on the base) bronze with light green patina 148 cm. (58 1/4 in.) high (including base)
Provenance: Gifted by the artist to Eric Gibbard, thence by descent.
Literature: Matthew Gale and Chris Stephens, Barbara Hepworth: Works in the Tate Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum St Ives, London, 1999, pp 66-70 (another cast illustrated)
Eric Gibbard was manager of the Morris Singer Foundry who cast for Barbara Hepworth. Gibbard was a good friend of Hepworth who gave the present work to him in 1963. The original plaster Single Form from which the present work was cast, was conceived in 1937-8 and sent to Paris for an exhibition in 1938. The work stayed there until 1961, when it was returned to the UK and cast in 1963. The exhibition in 1938 remains a bit of a mystery and it is not clear whether Hepworth originally intended to cast the piece. It is unlikely this was her intention in 1938 as it was not until the mid 1950s that Hepworth began casting her work in bronze. The original plaster cast for the present work remains with the Barbara Hepworth Estate in St Ives (BH 104). The 1963 bronze casts were distinguished from the original by the subtitle Eikon, meaning image in Greek. During the 1960s there was a lot of renewed interest in Hepworths 1930s work, and this could well have been the impetus for casting Single Form (Eikon).
An elegant work of monolithic stature, Single Form (Eikon) seems to take inspiration from prehistorical menhirs such as Stonehenge and Avebury. Its strong abstracted triangular form rises confidently into space. This work functions simultaneously as an icon of modernity the uncompromising abstraction and a symbol of mans ancient past.
Intellectually Single Form (Eikon) belongs conceptually to arguably the most important decade in British sculpture. It was during the 1930s that Hepworth was at the very avant-garde of British Art. This work fits into the ideology of Constructive Art to which Hepworth and husband Ben Nicholson subscribed
This is the first time a cast of Single Form (Eikon) has appeared at auction. Cast 7/7 belongs to the Tate Gallery. Cast 4/7 was acquired by the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller in Otterlo in 1967. Cast no. 6/7 is part of the Government Art Collection and resides in the garden of the British Ambassadors residence in Washington.
In 1963 Hepworth wrote 'Certain forms, I find, re-occur during one's lifetime and I have found some considerable pleasure in re-interpreting forms originally carved, and which in bronze, by greater attenuation, can give a new aspect to certain themes'. (see M. Shepherd, Barbara Hepworth, Methuen, London, 1963)