If you have once been to St Ives in Cornwall, you know how important sculptor Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) is for 20 th century art history. Her Trewyn studio is ideally located by the Tate gallery near the beach of this dreamlike fishing village and she spent much of her life living there, with husband painter Ben Nicholson with whom she had triplets. She is the object of a small but pretty retrospective at Musée Rodin, which organizes a Valentine evening on February 14. Now is the time to book because last year some of you were too late and missed the event.
Curated by Catherine Chevillot from Musée Rodin, and Sara Matson from the Tate, the show includes many sculptures and drawings as well as photographs of the artist in situ, lent by her family. After Rodin and Maillol, Brancusi and Henry Moore inspired Barbara Hepworth who became a leader of pure and nature inspired sculpture, between the two wars. She travelled to Paris with her husband Ben Nicholson and met Picasso and Mondrian, Calder and Miro. Her art will become famous for its empty and full shapes and is always inspired by the sea and the very special light of Cornwall. But also for the quiet beauty that she brought in after the horrors of the war.
Born in Wakefield Yorkshire, Barbara Hepworth was very early on attracted by the roughness of granit and carving marble or wood became her great passion. A short training at Leeds University and in London led her to Italy where she was briefly married. There she met a wonderful teacher Ardini, who taught her the importance of light in sculpture. She always concentrated on abstract art and loved ovals. After granit and marble, she developed a passion for exotic woods and also tried bronze.
After representing Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1950, she is commissioned for a major sculpture at the UN in New York. She will die in the fire of her Trewick studio in St Ives at 72.
The show at Musée Rodin is very diverse and gives a good image of this major artist who used heavy materials to convey her great sensitivity. Until March 22 at Musée Rodin.
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