Dame Barbara Hepworth at the Barbican Art Gallery, London

Conoid, Sphere and Hollow III, a sculpture by Dame Barbara Hepworth is currently part of the touring exhibition, Modern Couples: Art, intimacy and the avant-garde. The exhibition travels to London’s Barbican Art Gallery where it will be on view from 10 October 2018 – 27 January 2019.

Conoid, Sphere and Hollow III by Dame Barbara Hepworth

© Alan Bowness, Hepworth Estate

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Conoid, Sphere and Hollow III is an example of Barbara Hepworth’s sculptural work that explored spatial relationships between forms. This is the second of two versions of this work, which was executed three years after the birth of Hepworth’s triplets. Much of her work following the birth of her children consisted of three forms and she once commented that she was interested in ‘…the relationships in space, in size and texture and weight, as well as the tensions between the forms.’ The arrival of her children and the time she spent with them prompted her to search for a less figurative, more abstracted vision of beauty. 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 Brancusi (1876–1957), the Romanian sculptor who Hepworth had met on her visit to Paris with Ben Nicholson in 1933.

This sculpture is one of Hepworth’s most famous works from the 1930s. It has featured in many exhibitions both in Britain and Europe. In 1996, it was included in the exhibition Un Siecle de Sculpture Anglaise at the Galerie Nationale de Jeu du Paume in Paris. More recently, the work 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.

Hepworth spent time in Italy in 1924, on a scholarship to study the Italian technique of marble carving. In 1932, she visited the Paris studios of leading French artists with the artist Ben Nicholson (to whom she was later married) and in 1933 she joined Abstraction-Création, an international exhibition society in Paris. 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 she and Nicholson moved with their children to Cornwall, where she remained for the rest of her life. From 1951, after the dissolution of her marriage, she 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.

Further Information

Modern Couples: Art, intimacy and the avant-garde
Barbican Art Gallery
Level 3,
Barbican Centre
Silk Street, London

Telephone: 020 7638 8891