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Collection

Oval Form (Trezion), 1961-63

Barbara Hepworth

Credit: Gift of Ruth Carter Stevenson in honor of Kay Fortson © 2019 The Barbara Hepworth Estate

This bronze, by one of the leading abstract sculptors of the twentieth century, was inspired by Hepworth’s experience of the rugged beauty of the far southwest coast of England, where she lived and worked from 1939. Trezion was the name of her house overlooking St. Ives, Cornwall. The bronze’s open, spiraling structure suggests coiling waves, caves, rock pools, shells, and other natural phenomena along Cornwall’s stormy shores. Its textured surface and mottled patina likewise evoke the rough coastline. Hepworth’s visceral response to landscape and commitment to abstraction inform her sculpture, transporting the viewer through physical sensations to a universal, spiritual response. Hepworth turned from her early process of direct carving in wood and stone to work in bronze in the mid-1950s. She covered armatures with plaster, building and carving the surfaces, to produce molds from which she cast her bronzes. The more transparent composition of Oval Form and similar sculptures from this period allowed her to create rhythmic movement and a rich interplay of mass and penetrable voids.

Provenance

Acquired by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, gift of Ruth Carter Stevenson in honor of Kay Fortson, 2011.

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