Barbara Hepworth was an English abstract sculptor widely regarded as one of the most impactful sculptors of the mid-20th century. His work embodies the Modernist style, elevating it to an international significance that was rare for British sculptors at the time.
To celebrate Hepworth’s art and career, Google created an animated doodle in his honor on the anniversary of his 1939 move to St Ives, a town on the south coast of England, where he would become a leading figure in the colony of artists who resided there.
Born in Wakefield, England, on January 10, 1903, Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth decided at the age of 15 that she wanted to become a sculptor. She began her training at the Leeds School of Art in 1920 before transferring her studies the following year to the Royal College of Art, where she graduated in 1924. It was in Leeds that she met her fellow sculptor Henry Moore, with whom she goes had a long-standing friendship and would become prominent figures of modernism.
Hepworth’s interest in abstract art blossomed in the early 1930s. She was the first to sculpt the pierced figures that would become hallmarks of her work. As Google’s Doodle shows, she would become a leading figure in “direct sculpting,” a process that promotes a spontaneous approach in which the shape of the sculpture is determined during sculpting rather than a preconceived model.
His sensitive and organic approach was revolutionary, producing more than 600 sculptures of elegance, refinement and taste.
Hepworth received the Grand Prize at the São Paulo Biennale in 1959, was named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1965 for his contribution to British art.
He died in 1975 at the age of 72 in a fire in the St. Ives workshop where he lived.