Art@Site Barbara Hepworth Figure for Landscape Tampa

Barbara Hepworth


Figure for Landscape

University South Florida
There is so much to see on Porthcumo. I think we see a head and a shoulder (usually on the right side in the picture). This figure is lifting it’s arm tenderly upward. Could there lay a hand on a cheek? This feels tender.
The figure is slim at the bottom. Due to the round shape it seems that the figure is directed at the other. It looks like the figure is taken it’s responsibility to the other. This is reassuring.
The other has an slim form. This can be anything. But I'm not thinking of a person. After associating on a slim and straight shape I come up with column, work, job, task, dedication, devotion. This figure takes it’s responsibility with love.
With this artwork we can also look into the interior. With the openness I feel honesty and lightness. This is a pleasant meeting.
By Theo,

Er is veel te zien aan Porthcumo. Volgens mij zien we een hoofd en een schouder (meestal rechts te zien op de afbeelding). Deze figuur houdt een arm teder omhoog. Zou een hand op een wang liggen? Dit voelt teder.
De figuur is slank aan de onderzijde. Het lijkt of de figuur door de ronde vorm gericht is op het andere. Het lijkt of de figuur de verantwoordelijkheid neemt voor het andere. Dit stelt gerust.
Het ‘andere’ heeft een slanke vorm. Dit kan alles zijn. Maar ik zie er niet allereest een persoon in. Associërend op een slanke rechte vorm kom ik uit op: kolom, werk, baan, taak, opdracht, toewijding. Deze figuur neemt liefdevol zijn verantwoordelijkheid op zich.
Bij dit kunstwerk kunnen wij aan de binnenkant kijken. De openheid voelt eerlijk en licht. Dit is een plezierig kennismaking.
Door Theo,
The monumentality of that work is emphasised by the wrapping of the figure in a copious gown, and it is as a draped or shrouded figure that one might read Hepworth’s Figure for Landscape. Specifically, the asymmetrical form is suggestive of a mother holding a child in one arm.
Landscape became the dominant point of reference in Hepworth’s own account of her sculpture from the 1940s onwards. In essence, her vocabulary of hollowed-out forms followed an idea of landscape as an enveloping protector of an inferred fragile figure.
This work is unusual, however, both in the explicit nature of the landscape reference in its title and in the figurative nature of the sculpture. The notion of a figure in the landscape conjured by the title suggests the continuation of a well-established comparison between Hepworth’s sculpture and the standing stones in the landscape around her home town of St Ives. More specifically, it echoes her own verbal description of an ant change in her attitude to landscape.
In 1952 Hepworth recalled how her move to Cornwall had led to a new understanding of landscape: ‘I was the figure in the landscape and every sculpture contained to a greater or lesser degree the ever-changing forms and contours embodying my own response to a given position in the landscape’ (quoted in Herbert Read, Barbara Hepworth: Carving and Drawings, London 1952, section 4, unpaginated). This view of landscape prompts sculptures with enveloping forms that can be read as expressions of the artist’s experience of being in a place. In contrast, Figure for Landscape becomes the embodiment of the subject of that experience.
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 ... providth 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’.
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.'
Hepworth discovered that this dual quality between figure and landscape existed as much at home in Cornwall as it did in the Neolithic 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 landsrising 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).
Although the hollowed-out form had begun to be established as the mainstay of Hepworth’s art in the mid-1940s, the plastic qualities of bronze allowed her to achieve a degree of hollowing out that she could not have achieved in wood or stone. The curators and cataloguers of Hepworth’s work in Tection, Matthew Gale and Chris Stephens, have highlighted the way in which the form of this figure appears to echo that of Auguste Rodin’s Balzac 1892–7 (Musée Rodin, Paris, posthumous cast).
Figure for Landscape 1959–60 is a large, hollow, asymmetrical sculpture in bronze by the British artist Barbara Hepworth. It was cast at the Morris Singer foundry in London from a plaster original prepared by Hepworth and her assistants in her studio, the former Palais de Danse in St Ives, Cornwall. Renowned for her carving of stone and wood, Hepworth’s move into metal, initially wrought and then cast, afforded her a broader vocabulary of sculptural forms. To produce Figure for Landscape, liquid plaster would have been applied to expanded aluminium over a wooden armature. The artist would then have manipulated the plaster as it set. The plaster may then have been carved further when dried, as was consistent with Hepworth’s practice.
Dame Jocelyn Barth DBE (10 January 1903 – 20 May 1975) was an English artist and sculptor. Her work exemplifies Modernism and in particular modern sculpture. Along with artists such as Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo, Hepworth was a leading figure in the colony of artists who resided in St Ives during the Second World War.
Early life
Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth was born on 10 January 1903 in Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire, the eldest child of Gertrude and Herbert Hepworth. Her father was a civil engineer for the West Riding County Council, who in 1921 advanced to the role of County Surveyor. Hepworth attended Wakefield Girls' High School, where she was awarded music prizes at the age of 12 and won a scholarship to study at the Leeds School of Art from 1920. It was there that she met her fellow Yorkshireman, Henry Moore. They became friends and established a friendly rivalry that lasted professionally for many years.
Despite the difficulties of attempting to gain a position in what was a male-dominated eironment, Hepworth successfully won a county scholarship to attend the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London and studied there from 1921 until she was awarded the diploma of the Royal College of Art in 1924.
Early career
Following her studies at the RCA, Hepworth travelled to Florence, Italy, in 1924 on a West Riding Travel Scholarship. Hepworth was also the runner-up for the Prix-de-Rome, which the sculptor John Skeaping won. After travelling with him to Siena and Rome, Hepworth married Skeaping on 13 May 1925 in Florence. In Italy, Hepworth learned how to carve marble from sculptor Giovanni Ardini. Hepworth and Skeaping returned to London in 1926, where they exhibited their works together from their flat. Their son Paul was born in London in 1929. In 1931, Hepworth met and fell in love with abstract painter Ben Nicholson; however, both were still married at the time. At Hepworth's request, she and Skeaping were divorced that year.
Her early work was highly interested in abstraction and art movements on the continent. In 1931, Hepworth was the first to sculpt the pierced figures that are characteristic of both her own work and, later, that of Henry Moore. They would lead in the path to modernism in sculpture. In 1933, Hepworth travelled with Nicholson to France, where they visited the studios of Jean Arp, Pablo Picasso, and Constantin Brâncuși. Hepworth later became involved with the Paris-based art movement, Abstraction-Création. In 1933, Hepworth co-founded the Unit One art movement with Nicholson and Paul Nash, the critic Herbert Read, and the architect Wells Coates. The movement sought to unite Surrealism and abstraction in British art.
Hepworth also helped raise awareness of continental artists amongst the British public. In 1937, she designed the layout for Circle: An International Survey of Constructivist Art, a 300-page book that surveyed Constructivist artists and that was published in London and edited by Nicholson, Naum Gabo, and Leslie Martin.
Hepworth, with Nicholson, e birth to triplets in 1934: Rachel, Sarah, and Simon. Hepworth, atypically, found a way to both take care of her children and continue producing her art. ""A woman artist"", she argued, ""is not deprived by cooking and having children, nor by nursing children with measles (even in triplicate) – one is in fact nourished by this rich life, provided one always does some work each day; even a single half hour, so that the images grow in one's min"" Hepworth married Nicholson on 17 November 1938 at Hampstead Register Office in north London, following his divorce from his wife Winifred. Rachel and Simon also became artists. St Ives
Hepworth lived in Trewyn Studios in St Ives from 1949 until her death in 1975.] She said that ""Finding Trewyn Studio was sort of magic. Here was a studio, a yard, and garden where I could work in open air and space."" Hepworth was also a skilled draughtsperson. After her daughter Sarah was hospitalised in 1944, she struck up a close friendship with the surgeon Norman Capener. At Capener's invitation, she was invited to view surgical procedures and, between 1947 and 1949, she produced nearly 80 drawings of operating rooms in chalk, ink, and pencil. Hepworth was fascinated by the similarities between surgeons and artists, stating: "There is, it seems to me, a close affinity between the work and approach of both physicians and surgeons, and painters and sculptors." Death of son Paul
Her eldest son Paul was killed on 13 February 1953 in a plane crash while serving with the Royal Air Force in Thailand. A memorial to him, Madonna and Child, is in the parish church of St Ives. Exhausted, in part from her son's death, Hepworth travelled to Greece with her friend Margaret Gardiner in August 1954. They visited Athens, Delphi and many of the Aegean Islands. Between 1954 and 1956 Hepworth sculpted six pieces out of guarea wood, many of which were inspired by her trip to Greece, such as Corinthos (1954) and Curved Form (Delphi) (1955).