This exhibition brings together a selection of works made by Barbara Hepworth (1903–75) during the last twenty years of her life.
They have been chosen to complement her large bronze sculpture, Two Forms (Divided Circle) 1969, which stands outside the gallery. This work is on long-term loan to Downing College from the Hepworth Estate. A circular, subtly asymmetrical sculpture, it invites viewers to get closer to it, to investigate the relationships between its parts.
Works in the gallery connect with aspects of Divided Circle, including its composition, presence and associations. They also interact in different ways with the size and structure of the human form.
The varied scale of Hepworth’s works and the range of materials she used (including aluminium, copper, gold and different marbles) are noticeable from her output during these years. Painting and printmaking also offered her ways to express her ideas.
In 1969 Hepworth was sixty-six, and living and working in St Ives, Cornwall. She was a Dame of the British Empire and the Tate Gallery had held a large exhibition of her work. Some health difficulties had also featured in recent years, particularly a cancer diagnosis in 1965 and a broken femur in 1967. Rather than slowing her down, such difficulties heightened Hepworth’s drive to realise new ideas in sculpture. Her works from this late period show her continued ambition, open-mindedness, and firm sense of purpose.