Barbara Hepworth: The Plasters

The Gift to Wakefield

Barbara Hepworth: The Plasters LOOK INSIDE
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  • Edited by Sophie Bowness with contributions by Sophie Bowness, David Chipperfield, Frances Guy, Jackie Heuman, Tessa Jackson, Simon Wallis and Gordon Watson
  • Celebrating the generous gift of Barbara Hepworth's plasters to The Hepworth Wakefield by the Hepworth Estate, this groundbreaking publication combines a fully illustrated catalogue of the sculptor's surviving prototypes in plaster (and a number also in aluminium and wood) with a detailed analysis of her working methods and a comprehensive history of her work in bronze. In addition, insights into the building which is home to the collection are provided through essays exploring the history of The Hepworth and, in a contribution by David Chipperfield, the design of the new museum by his architectural practice. A fascinating account of the sculptor's connections with Wakefield Art Gallery also features.

    The Hepworth's collection of over forty unique, unknown sculptures are the surviving working models from which editions of bronzes were cast. They range in size from works that can be held in the hand to monumental sculptures, including the Winged Figure for John Lewis's Oxford Street headquarters. The majority are original plasters on which the artist worked with her own hands and to scale. Providing a unique insight into Hepworth's working processes, on which little has been written, Barbara Hepworth: The Plasters will enhance appreciation of her work as a whole.

    An invaluable resource, Barbara Hepworth: The Plasters will appeal to the specialist and non-specialist alike.
  • Contents: Preface, Simon Wallis; Coming Home: Barbara Hepworth and the Wakefield Art Gallery Collection, Frances Guy; Developing The Hepworth Wakefield to Start of Construction, 1996 to 2007, Gordon Watson; The Hepworth Wakefield, David Chipperfield; Barbara Hepworth's Studio Practice: Plaster for Bronze, Sophie Bowness; Catalogue of the Plasters and other Prototypes in the Hepworth Gift, Sophie Bowness, with information on technique and conservation by Jackie Heuman and Tessa Jackson; The Conservation of the Gift, with a Glossary of Technical Terms, Jackie Heuman; Chronology; Select Bibliography; Index.
  • About the Editor: Dr Sophie Bowness is an art historian and a Trustee of the Hepworth Estate. She is currently working on the catalogue raisonné of Hepworth's sculpture and was a consultant on The Hepworth Wakefield. She has written in particular on the work of Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, Le Corbusier, Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth.

    David Chipperfield established his practice in 1985 in London, and it has grown to include offices in Berlin, Milan and Shanghai. David Chipperfield Architects designed The Hepworth Wakefield and recent projects include the rebuilding of the Neues Museum in Berlin and the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate.

    Frances Guy is Head of Collections and Exhibitions at The Hepworth Wakefield. She was previously Curator at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.

    Jackie Heuman is a conservation consultant and Co-Director of SculpCons Ltd. She is a specialist in the conservation of modern sculpture and a former Head of Sculpture Conservation at Tate. Her previous publications include two books she has edited, From Marble to Chocolate: The Conservation of Modern Sculpture (1995) and Material Matters: The Conservation of Modern Sculpture (1999).

    Tessa Jackson is a Director of Jackson Sculpture Conservation Ltd, specialising in the conservation of sculpture and objects. She is an accredited conservator with substantial commercial and gallery experience.

    Simon Wallis is Director of The Hepworth Wakefield. He worked previously at Kettle's Yard, Tate Liverpool and Chisenhale Gallery.

    Gordon Watson led the development of The Hepworth Wakefield as Project Director from 2004 to 2010 and, before that, as manager of Wakefield Council’s Museums and Arts Service. He is now Chief Executive of the Lakeland Arts Trust.
  • Reviews: The donation of Barbara Hepworth's plasters to The Hepworth Wakefield establishes one of the landmark art collections in Britain. It was in plaster that Hepworth experimented most as she made the transition from stone and wood to bronze, testing the potential of her new material as she went. In her perceptive text Sophie Bowness describes clearly the different means by which this increasingly important artist made her plaster works, and why.
    Dr Chris Stephens, Curator of Modern British Art and Head of Displays, Tate Britain

    The Hepworth Wakefield is the result of a unique combination of two English spatial intellects. Barbara Hepworth's work is characterised by an extreme refinement of form, sensibility of material and tenacity of purpose. The building that David Chipperfield has designed to house her work combines tough formal precision with a playful organicism that exactly complements her indomitable spirit as a pioneering woman sculptor. This gallery in Wakefield will become a place of pilgrimage for lovers of sculpture and a place of inspiration for all.
    Antony Gormley, Sculptor

    Sophie Bowness' s magnificent catalogue richly illustrates the works and illuminates their histories through archival photographs demonstrating everything from the varied tools used by Hepworth to the logistical problems of transporting the monumental pieces through the narrow streets of St Ives, where she worked from 1949 until 1975. Bowness's essay gives much-needed attention to Hepworth's studio practice, as well as to her relations with foundries, and details the revolutions of her public commissions. It fully demonstrates what a valuable gift the Hepworth Wakefield is to her home town.
    Peter Maber

    'Sophie Bowness's magnificent catalogue richly illustrates the works and illuminates their histories through archival photographs … Bowness's essay gives much-needed attention to Hepworth's studio practice, as well as to her relations with foundries, and details the evolutions of her public commissions.' TLS
  • Co-publisher: Published in association with The Hepworth Wakefield