Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base) (Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9)

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Lot 47AR
Dame Barbara Hepworth
(British, 1903-1975)
Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base)

Sold for £ 194,000 (US$ 269,060) inc. premium
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975)
Maquette (Variation on a Theme)
bronze with a brown and white patina
43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base)
Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    With Laing Gallery, Toronto
    Michael Tollemache, 1970
    With James Goodman Gallery, New York, 1971
    Private Collection, U.S.A.
    With James Goodman Gallery, New York, September 1999, where purchased by
    With New Art Centre, Salisbury, February 2000, where purchased by
    Ross D. Siragusa Jr., from whom acquired by the present owner
    Private Collection, U.K.

    Exhibited
    Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, Recent British Sculpture, organised by the British Council, 13 April 1961, cat.no.4 (another cast); this exhibition travelled to Québec, Montreal Museum Of Fine Arts, May, Winnipeg, Art Gallery, June, Regina, Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, July, Toronto, Art Gallery Of Ontario, August, London (Ontario), Regional Art And Historical Museum, September, Vancouver, Vancouver Art Gallery, 1-30 April 1962, Aukland, City Art Gallery, 5-29 July, Wellington, Dominion Gallery, 21 August-9 September, Dunedin, Otago Museum, 9-28 October, Christchurch, Canterbury Museum, 20 November-9 December, Adelaide, Art Gallery Of South Australia, January 1963, Canberra, Australian National Museum, 13 January-23 February, Perth, Art Gallery Of Western Australia, 24 January, Adelaide, Adelaide Festival, 4 April-5 May, Hobart, Tasmanian Museum And Art Gallery, May, Launceston, Queen Victoria Art Gallery, 30 May, Melbourne, National Gallery Of Victoria, July, Sydney, Art Gallery Of New South Wales, August, Brisbane, Queensland Art Gallery, September, Newcastle, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, October and Canberra, National Gallery, 1 January-31 March 1964

    London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Barbara Hepworth: An Exhibition of Sculpture from 1952-1962, May-June 1962, cat.no.37 (another cast)

    Florence, British Arts Council, Barbara Hepworth: Mostra Fotografica con Disegni e Originali, 8-16 October 1966, cat.no.4 (another cast)
    New York, Memorial Art Gallery, Twentieth Century Art: The Charles Rand Penny Collection, November 1983-August 1984, cat.no.47 (another cast); this exhibition travelled to New York, State University Art Gallery, October-December 1984, California, San Jose Museum of Art, September-November 1985, Wheeling, Stifel Fine Arts Centre, January-March 1986, Baton Rouge, Louisiana Arts and Science Centre, April-May, Tampa, Tampa Museum of Art, June-July, Little Rock, Arkansas Art Centre, August-September, Oklahoma, Oklahoma Art Centre, November-December, Jackson, Mississippi Museum of Art, January-February 1987, Spokane, Cheney Cowles Memorial Museum, June-July, Oshkosh, Paine Art Centre, September-November, Texas, Beaumont Art Museum, January-February 1988 and Shreveport, Meadows Museum, March-May 1988

    Liverpool, Tate, Barbara Hepworth: A Retrospective, 14 September–4 December 1994, cat.no.57 (another cast); this exhibition travelled to New Haven, Yale Centre for British Art, 4 February-9 April 1995 and Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, 19 May-7 August 1995

    Literature
    J.P. Hodin, Barbara Hepworth, London, Lund Humphries, 1961, cat.no.247 (ill.b&w) (another cast)
    Matthew Gale and Chris Stephens, Barbara Hepworth, Works in the Tate Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum St Ives, Tate Publishing, London, 2001, p.182

    Owing to her desire to have direct contact with materials, Barbara Hepworth came to bronze casting somewhat later in her career with the first appearing in 1956. Alongside wood and stone, bronze was a medium which the artist would continue to explore until the end of her life, producing some of her finest and most memorable work from it. Maquette (Variation on a Theme) was conceived in 1958 and belongs to the early stages of development in one of the artist's important commissions.

    At Lillian Somerville of the British Council's recommendation, Hepworth was put in touch with the architects Trehearne & Norman Preston who were designing a sixteen-story office block on High Holborn for The Wohl Group. This was to become the now demolished State House with the sculpture presiding over the entrance titled Meridian. As Somerville explained, 'for once these architects do not want symbolism or a subject or a theme but an abstract sculpture', which must have been a particular draw for the artist (M. Gale and C. Stephens, Barbara Hepworth, London, 1999, p.182). Indeed, in an interview at the time, Hepworth described how 'with this commission I felt no hesitation whatsoever. By next morning I saw the sculpture in my mind quite clearly. I made my first maquette, and from this, began the armature for the working model. The architect must create a valid space for sculpture so that it becomes organically part of our spiritual perception as well as our three-dimensional life. To do less is to destroy sculpture and admit to an impoverished architecture' (P. Curtis and A.G. Wilkinson, Barbara Hepworth, A Retrospective, Liverpool, Tate Gallery, 1994, pp.154-155).

    Following an initial plaster model, Hepworth first created Maquette for State House (Meridian) (BH 245), which was later cast in an edition of 9. The present work, Maquette (Variation on a Theme), followed and was also to be cast in an edition of 9 with this being number 2. The work displays a complex tangle of ribbons which bind together and form triangular loops with the ultimate intention of contrasting with the building's linear architecture. The sculpture is clearly derived from the landscape with its strong sense of form and texture which was always at the forefront of the artist's mind. Maquette (Variation on a Theme) conveys a vivid sense of the artist's experience with the childhood memories of hills in Yorkshire and the weathered coast of Cornwall both translated into sculptural form. When explaining her choice of title for Meridian to the architect Harold Mortimer, Hepworth commented that 'it refers either to an imaginary arc of longitude (quintessentially, the Greenwich Meridian) or to the highest point in the arc of the sun' (M. Gale and C. Stephens, loc. cit.).

    Meridian was erected in London in 1960, the year after Hepworth claimed the Grand Prix at the Sao Paulo Art Biennial and was unveiled in front of a wall of Cornish granite by Sir Philip Hendy, Director of the National Gallery. Upon its demolition in 1990, the sculpture was sold to the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens in Purchase, New York, which is the headquarters of PepsiCo. The success of Meridian was an important development for Hepworth and led to future commissions including Winged Figure for the John Lewis building on Oxford Street.

    We are grateful to Sophie Bowness for her assistance in cataloguing this lot.
Contacts
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base) (Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base) (Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base) (Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base) (Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base) (Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base) (Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base) (Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base) (Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base) (Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base) (Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base) (Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base) (Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Maquette (Variation on a Theme) 43.8 cm. (17 1/4 in.) high (excluding the wooden base) (Conceived in 1958, the present work is number 2 from the edition of 9)
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