Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Seated Figure and Reflection 35.5 x 36 cm. (14 x 14 1/4 in.)

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Lot 46AR
Dame Barbara Hepworth
(British, 1903-1975)
Seated Figure and Reflection 35.5 x 36 cm. (14 x 14 1/4 in.)

Sold for £ 137,750 (US$ 193,365) inc. premium
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975)
Seated Figure and Reflection
signed and dated 'Barbara Hepworth. Dec. 1947' (lower right)
oil and pencil on card
35.5 x 36 cm. (14 x 14 1/4 in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Dr Andrew Revai
    Pauline Hayward, thence by family descent
    Private Collection, U.K.

    Exhibited
    London, The Lefevre Gallery, Paintings by Barbara Hepworth, Paintings by L.S. Lowry, April 1948, cat.37

    Apparently unseen in public for over seventy years, this sublime drawing by Hepworth, Seated Figure and Reflection, is among her earliest pieces from a series of figurative drawings begun late in 1947 which introduced her surgical works of 1948-49.

    They are commonly referred to as 'drawings' rather than paintings as the employment of gesso and oil are used to prepare the board, remaining secondary to the draughtsmanship. In the present lot a subtle, pale green wash has been applied to the ground which brings the picture to life. The pencil lines are purposeful and delicate, with areas of sensitively applied shading to indicate form, such as under the thighs and breasts.

    In 1966 Alan Bowness remarked:
    'The earliest of the figure drawings were done at the end of 1947 and in 1948. In each case we have two views of the same model. One subsidiary to the other. There is no suggestion of a fixed pose – which the artist dislikes intensely. She asks the model to move about naturally, pausing or resting at certain moments, but never taking up an artificial position. By preference she has used trained dancers on holiday, rather than professional artists' models. In the 1930s she had often watched dancers at work, and even drew ballet subjects, but as with Degas the interest was not in ballet as such, but in the nature of human movement.' (Alan Bowness, Barbara Hepworth, Drawings from a Sculptor's Landscape, Cory, Adams & Mackay, London, p.20).

    Unlike most of the drawings from this period both studies of the same model carry equal weight. They are as its title suggests, reflected, but at the same time could be engaged in dialogue, separated by playful curvy lines which mirror those of the naked bodies. This sense of movement is paramount and expertly conveyed by the artist's rhythmic lines, from the waves of the hair to the overlapping marks of their legs. Nothing in this exquisite study seems still or fixed.

    We are grateful to Dr Sophie Bowness and Jenna Lundin Aral for their assistance in cataloguing this lot.
Contacts
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Seated Figure and Reflection 35.5 x 36 cm. (14 x 14 1/4 in.)
Dame Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903-1975) Seated Figure and Reflection 35.5 x 36 cm. (14 x 14 1/4 in.)
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