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HOMEWORK HELP: BARBARA HEPWORTH

Posted 23 June 2015 by Kat

Barbara Hepworth was a very famous British sculptor, who was born in Wakefield in 1903.

Photographs of Ben Nicholson taking a photograph of Barbara Hepworth [c 1932] Tate Archive

Photographs of Ben Nicholson taking a photograph of Barbara Hepworth [c 1932] Tate Archive

Her earliest memories were from driving though the countryside with her family. She never forgot the shapes made by the roads, hills and fields and they inspired her to make some amazing artwork…

She studied at Leeds School of Art with Henry Moore, who became a life-long friend. This is what his work looked like. What do you think are the similarities and differences in their work?

Henry Moore OM, CH Family Group 1949, cast 1950–1 © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

Henry Moore OM, CH Family Group 1949, cast 1950–1 © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

Here is an early sculpture by Hepworth made in 1929.

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Infant 1929 © Bowness

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Infant 1929 © Bowness

It is of her son Paul, who was born in 1929. It is made of wood that has been sandpapered until it is smooth and glossy. The baby looks as if he is lying on his back, but Hepworth has made the sculpture stand upright, like a wooden icon. It also looks a bit like an African carving. Many modern artists were influenced by African art at this time.

Barbara’s most important sculptures were abstract. They were made of wood, stone and bronze. Barbara said her work was a way of ‘holding a beautiful thought’. Do you agree?

In the 1930s, Hepworth became part of a group of artists who stopped making art that looked like people and started making abstract art. She met with a lot of international artists, like Picasso, Mondrian and Kandinsky! She was pretty cool.

Here is an early abstract sculpture she made…

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Mother and Child 1934 © Bowness

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Mother and Child 1934 © Bowness

I bet you can guess which part is the mother and which is the child?

Hepworth wanted to create art that was calm, that people could enjoy looking at and would not make them feel uncomfortable or anxious. She began to make sculptures and drawings that were inspired by the landscape and nature around her.

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Winter Solstice 1970 © Bowness

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Winter Solstice 1970 © Bowness

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Hepworth and her family moved to St Ives in Cornwall. St Ives was a very popular place for artists to live. Hepworth and her husband, the artist Ben Nicholson formed the St Ives Group. The artists of the St Ives Group wanted their sculptures to look like they had been formed by the landscape, or like pebbles found on the seashore. This sculpture is called Oval. Do you think it looks a bit like a stone that has had its edges smoothed down by the force of the sea?

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Oval Sculpture (No. 2) 1943, cast 1958 © Bowness

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Oval Sculpture (No. 2) 1943, cast 1958 © Bowness

Barbara wanted people to look at the world in a different way, she wanted you to use her sculptures to frame a landscape. Look through her work, over it, from far away or really close.

She was asked to make art for public places like outside the United Nations building in New York or on Oxford Street in London.

Hepworth passed away in 1975, but her smooth, organic looking sculptures still make many people look at the world differently today!

We really do love Barbara Hepworth at Tate Kids and we have lots of activities and games to do inspired by Hepworth. You can download our free drawing app, make a necklace, carve soap or even explore her garden!

See her sculptures in real life at our new exhibition at Tate Britain or down in St Ives in her studio!

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NEW GAME! ARE YOU AN ART DETECTIVE?

Posted 10 June 2010 by Hannah

It’s been a busy week here at TK HQ. Not only have we brought you a NEW artwork to write stories about in Tate Tales, we’ve also cooked up a proper mystery for you on our Games page.

Have you got what it takes to be an Art Detective? Check it out!

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HENRY MOORE: WAX CRAYONS AND WATERCOLOURS

Posted 26 March 2010 by Hannah

Henry Moore is very famous for his sculptures, but regular readers will know that he also made sketches in the London Underground during World War II, when the tube stations were used as bomb shelters.

But how did he achieve the spooky effect of the figures rising out of the darkness?

With wax crayons from Woolworth’s and watercolour paint!

Moore says:

“I hit upon this technique by accident, sometime before the war when doing a drawing to amuse a young niece of mine.  I used some of the cheap wax crayons (which she had bought from Woolworth’s) in combination with a wash of water-colour, and found, of course, that the water-colour did not ‘take’ on the wax, but only on the background.

I found also that if you use a light-coloured or even white wax crayon, then a dark depth of background can easily be produced by painting with dark water-colour over the whole sheet of paper. ”

Letter to E.D. Averill, 11 December 1964

Woman Seated in the Underground, 1941Can you see where Moore has used light-coloured crayon and dark watercolours to create the ghostly figure of Woman Seated in the Underground (1941)? The ink flows over the wax and soaks into the paper around it, leaving the light colours behind.

Why not try it yourself?

© The Henry Moore Foundation. This image must not be reproduced or altered without prior consent from the Henry Moore Foundation.

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WHO IS . . . HENRY MOORE?

Posted 16 March 2010 by Hannah

Henry Spencer Moore was born in Castleford, Yorkshire, England in 1898. He was a teacher and served in the army before going to Leeds School of Art to learn to become a sculptor.

He is famous for sculpting people with hollow spaces in their bodies and for using flowing, abstract shapes:

Composition, 1932

Most of his sculptures are female figures, some are families and some just faces:

Reclining Figure, 1951

Maquette for Family Group, 1944

Mask, 1928

He liked to take inspiration from nature and spent a lot of time sketching each sculpture before he made it.

You can learn more about Henry Moore’s techniques in this blog post here.

Moore’s career spanned over fifty years – that’s a lot of sculptures!

During World War II, he was commissioned by the War Artists Advisory Committee to make drawings of London’s civilians using Underground stations as bomb shelters:

Woman Seated in the Underground, 1941

He died in 1986 and was buried only a few hundred yards from his home at St Thomas’s Church in Perry Green.

Have you seen any Henry Moore sculptures? Why not leave us a comment to tell us what you think!

Pssst! There is EVEN MOORE (get it?!) information on Henry Moore that can be found on the Tate website! Perfect for that extra homework help! ;)

© The Henry Moore Foundation. These images must not be reproduced or altered without prior consent from the Henry Moore Foundation.

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