Three Forms

Last updated

Three Forms (BH 72) is an abstract sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, completed in 1935.

The sculpture was one of the first works completed by Hepworth after the birth of her triplets with Ben Nicholson in October 1934. It marks a point of departure in her style: her earlier abstract works are based on the human form, but Three Forms is more purely abstract, reduced to simple geometric shapes with little colour. Her subsequent work continued in a more formal, abstract and non-representational vein. Hepworth wrote in 1952 that she became "absorbed in the relationships in space, in size and texture and weight, as well as the tensions between forms".

The work consists of three rounded elements positioned on a flat rectangular base, all in polished Seravezza marble (largely white, but small brown marks, grey flecks, and pale grey graining are visible on close inspection). Each element has a precise shape and size, and they are arranged in a similarly precise triangular relationship. The original base has been replaced, but the spatial arrangement of each element remains the same, with a spherical element placed at a distance from two larger and elongated oval forms, the smaller of which lies flat and the larger of which rests on its long edge, both aligned with the longer edge of the rectangular base. The 12 centimetres (4.7 in) diameter of the sphere reflects one of the dimensions of both larger elements, each of which also shares a dimension of 18 centimetres (7.1 in) (1.5 times as large). The medium spheroid measures 8.5 × 18 × 12 centimetres (3.3 × 7.1 × 4.7 in) and the larger one is 18 × 25.5 × 12 centimetres (7.1 × 10.0 × 4.7 in). Each object was shaped by hand and so is slightly imperfect. The choice of three forms - two alike and one different - may be connected with the birth of Hepworth's triplets - two girls and one boy.

The abstract sculpture in a pure white recalls the contemporary architecture of Le Corbusier, and may also have been inspired by Hepworth's visits to the studios of Brancusi and Arp on a visit to France with Nicholson in 1932. Hepworth later accepted criticism from physicist John Desmond Bernal that the elements are all positively curved, and suggested that the work could have been improved by the sphere being replaced by a cylinder.

The whole work measures 21 × 53.2 × 34.3 centimetres (8.3 × 20.9 × 13.5 in) and weighs 23 kilograms (51 lb). It was exhibited at the "7&5" exhibition in 1935 and the "Abstract and Concrete Art" exhibition in 1936. It was bought from Hepworth by Marcus Brumwell in late 1935, who donated it to the Tate Gallery in 1964. It is now displayed at Tate Britain.

Related Research Articles

Barbara Hepworth English sculptor

Dame Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth was an English artist and sculptor. Her work exemplifies Modernism and in particular modern sculpture. She was one of the few female artists of her generation to achieve international prominence. Along with artists such as Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo, Hepworth was a leading figure in the colony of artists who resided in St Ives during the Second World War.

Jacob Epstein American-British sculptor

Sir Jacob Epstein was an American-British sculptor who helped pioneer modern sculpture. He was born in the United States, and moved to Europe in 1902, becoming a British subject in 1911. He often produced controversial works which challenged ideas on what was appropriate subject matter for public artworks. He also made paintings and drawings, and often exhibited his work.

Ben Nicholson British painter (1894-1982)

Benjamin Lauder Nicholson, OM was an English painter of abstract compositions, landscape and still-life.

Barbara Hepworth Museum Sculpture museum in Cornwall, UK

The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in St Ives, Cornwall preserves the 20th-century sculptor Barbara Hepworth's studio and garden much as they were when she lived and worked there. She purchased the site in 1949 and lived and worked there for 26 years until her death in a fire on the premises in 1975.

Naum Gabo Russian sculptor

Naum Gabo, born Naum Neemia Pevsner, was an influential sculptor, theorist, and key figure in Russia's post-Revolution avant-garde and the subsequent development of twentieth-century sculpture. His work combined geometric abstraction with a dynamic organization of form in small reliefs and constructions, monumental public sculpture and pioneering kinetic works that assimilated new materials such as nylon, wire, lucite and semi-transparent materials, glass and metal. Responding to the scientific and political revolutions of his age, Gabo led an eventful and peripatetic life, moving to Berlin, Paris, Oslo, Moscow, London, and finally the United States, and within the circles of the major avant-garde movements of the day, including Cubism, Futurism, Constructivism, the Bauhaus, de Stijl and the Abstraction-Création group. Two preoccupations, unique to Gabo, were his interest in representing negative space—"released from any closed volume" or mass—and time. He famously explored the former idea in his Linear Construction works (1942-1971)—used nylon filament to create voids or interior spaces as "concrete" as the elements of solid mass—and the latter in his pioneering work, Kinetic Sculpture (1920), often considered the first kinetic work of art.

Winifred Nicholson English artist

Winifred Nicholson was a British painter. She was married to the painter Ben Nicholson, and was thus the daughter-in-law of the painter William Nicholson and his wife, the painter Mabel Pryde. She was the mother of the painter Kate Nicholson.

Henry Moore English artist known for sculpture (1898–1986)

Henry Spencer Moore was an English artist. He is best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures which are located around the world as public works of art. As well as sculpture, Moore produced many drawings, including a series depicting Londoners sheltering from the Blitz during the Second World War, along with other graphic works on paper.

This article is about the 2006 Turner Prize for British contemporary art.

The Seven and Five Society was an art group of seven painters and five sculptors created in 1919 and based in London.

John Cecil Stephenson was a British abstract artist and pioneer of Modernism.

Margaret Nairne Mellis was a British artist, one of the early members and last survivors of the group of modernist artists that gathered in St Ives, in Cornwall, in the 1940s. She and her first husband, Adrian Stokes, played an important role in the rise of St Ives as a magnet for artists. She later married Francis Davison, also an artist, and became a mentor to the young Damien Hirst.

<i>Two Forms (Divided Circle)</i> sculpture by Barbara Hepworth

Two Forms is a bronze sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, designed in 1969. Six numbered copies were cast, plus one (0/6) retained by the sculptor. The sculpture's dimensions are 2,370 centimetres (930 in) by 2,340 centimetres (920 in) by 54 centimetres (21 in).

<i>Sphere with Inner Form</i> sculpture by Barbara Hepworth

Sphere with Inner Form is a bronze sculpture by English artist Barbara Hepworth, with six castings made in 1963 and two more 1965. It is sometimes interpreted as a child in a pregnant woman's womb, or as a metaphor for the creation of a sculpture.

Kim Lim (1936–1997) was a Singaporean-British sculptor and printmaker of Chinese descent. She was most recognized for her abstract wooden structures as well as for her stone-carved sculptures that explored the relationship between art and nature. Her skills as a sculptress and printmaker won her recognition and her attention to the minute detail of curve, line and surface finish made her an exponent of minimalism.

<i>Winged Figure</i> sculpture by Barbara Hepworth

Winged Figure is a 1963 sculpture by British artist Barbara Hepworth. One of Hepworth's best known works, it has been displayed in London since April 1963, on Holles Street near the junction with Oxford Street, mounted on the south-east side of the John Lewis department store. It is estimated that the sculpture is seen by approximately 200 million people each year.

<i>Single Form</i> series of sculptures by Barbara Hepworth

Single Form is a monumental bronze sculpture by the British artist Barbara Hepworth. It is her largest work, and one of her most prominent public commissions, displayed since 1964 in a circular water feature that forms a traffic island at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York City, outside the United Nations Secretariat Building and the Dag Hammarskjöld Library. It is also the largest artwork cast by the Morris Singer foundry.

Meridian is a bronze sculpture by British artist Barbara Hepworth. It is an early example of her public commissions, commissioned for State House, a new 16-storey office block constructed at 66–71 High Holborn, London, in the early 1960s. The sculpture was made in 1958–59, and erected in 1960. When the building was demolished in 1990, the sculpture was sold and moved to the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens in Purchase, New York.

Four-Piece Composition: Reclining Figure (LH154) is an important early stone sculpture by the English sculptor Henry Moore. He had been working on depictions of the reclining human figure since at least 1924, but this small piece, made in the latter half of 1934, is the first work in which Moore breaks a human figure down in to several separate pieces. It was acquired by the Tate Gallery in 1976.

<i>Locking Piece</i> sculpture series by Henry Moore

Locking Piece is a sculpture by Henry Moore. It comprises two interlocking forms holding a third element between them, on a bronze base. It is usually mounted on a separate plinth. The sculpture was created in 1962–1964, and bronze casts were made in 1964–1967.

<i>Four-Square</i> (Walk Through)

Four-Square is a 4.3 metres (14 ft) high bronze sculpture by British artist Barbara Hepworth. It was cast in 1966 in an edition of 3+1. The four casts are displayed at the Barbara Hepworth Museum, the Norton Simon Museum, Churchill College, Cambridge, and the Mayo Clinic.

References