Get to know - Barbara Hepworth's 'Single Form'

Get to know - Barbara Hepworth's 'Single Form'

Single Form, 1961-4

Barbara Hepworth is considered one of the most important British sculptors of the 20th Century - and is a firm favourite amongst the Academy team. Dr Lee Beard examines her most important public commission 'Single Form' 1961-4, in our latest film for those studying art history A level. The sculpture can be found outside the United Nations Building in New York, and is also her largest work at 21 feet (6.4 metres) in height. Did you know that a crane and scaffolding had to be used to put the bronze sculpture into place? You can see the sculpture in New York (or watch our film), or there is even a smaller version of it in Battersea Park, London. 

Natural Forms

Hepworth made an estimated 500 sculptures in her lifetime; many of these feature gaps or holes, like 'Single Form'. What was the reason for these holes? They draw us in and encourage us to look through the inside of the sculpture and out towards the other side. Many of Hepworth's sculptures are set within the coastal region of St Ives, so these gaps are also used to frame the surrounding landscape and add an extra, fourth dimension to the sculpture. To learn more about how Hepworth wanted us to view her works, watch Spring with Academy presenter Heather - part of our Nature collection.  


Don't Miss...

'Barbara Hepworth: Art and Life' opens at Tate St Ives next weekend. This major retrospective has been on tour across the UK, first appearing at The Hepworth Wakefield in West Yorkshire, then at the National Galleries Scotland in Edinburgh, before travelling down to St Ives - where Hepworth spent much of her life. The exhibition gives us an insight into the life of the great artist. Being the mother of triplets and married to another artist, Ben Nicholson, Hepworth often struggled to fit her art into daily life, and explains how in a letter she wrote in 1939: “I’ve slowly discovered how to create for 30 mins, cook for 40 mins, create for another 30 and look after children for 50 and so on through the's a miracle". 

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