River Form, 1965, Barbara Hepworth, (British, 1903-1975), bronze 33.5” x 74” x 32.5”
Barbara Hepworth was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire and studied at the Leeds School of Art from 1921
to 1924. She studied at the Royal College of Art from 1924-1925. One of Hepworth’s
classmates at both Leeds and the Royal College was Henry Moore, with
whom she had a strong life-long friendship. In the 1940s and 50s, Hepworth won acclaim for works she created specifically for the Festival of Britain, The Unknown Political
Prisoner competition and the Venice Biennial. In 1965 she was awarded one of the highest honors of her native Britain, the
rank of Dame of the British Empire. She died tragically in a fire in her studio in St. Ives in 1975. The Barbara Hepworth
Museum was opened in 1976 at her Cornwall estate by the Tate Museum. Hepworth was very prolific during her lifetime, creating
nearly 600 sculptures.
Throughout her career, Hepworth often discussed her experiments with her friend
Henry Moore. Whereas Moore was interested primarily in the figure, Hepworth worked in a more abstract mode, drawing much of
her inspiration from the sea. River Form reminds the viewer of a pebble that has been gently shaped by the
currents of a churning river. The piece is a contemplation of water, space and the sky. The artist’s interest in exploring
the void and the interaction between positive and negative space is evident in the cutaway interior which gives the impression of having evolved over time.