Barbara Hepworth DBE (1903-1975)
"Aim for the stars, but keep your feet on the ground."
Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth was an English Sculptor, one of the most important figures in the development of abstract art in Britain. She was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and studied at the Leeds School of Art and the Royal College of Art.
Her early sculptures were almost naturalistic before becoming more abstract later in her career. She always wanted to excel at what she enjoyed, so she changed her style in order to reach perfection. She worked mainly in wood, stone, brass and marble; consistently admitting she had an emotional attachment to nature "I, the sculptor, am the landscape".
Hepworth was famous for creating beautiful impressions of objects rather than simple portraits of the objects themselves. “I do not want to make a stone horse that is trying to and cannot smell the air…these are not stone forms and the love and emotion of them can only be expressed in more abstract terms.” This was quite radical and it made her ambitious nature one to be admired.
One of her sculptures, ‘Pelagos’ reflects sheer determination in both nature and in life, representing her vision of the waves and rocky coastline of the Cornish Coast, some might say reflected her emotional, and determined philosophy of life, which resulted in some of her best work being produced. Her life was reflected in her art. Her relentless, yet naturalistic based determination ensured her success.
In 1939, Hepworth moved to St Ives in Cornwall, where she worked passionately to become one of the most internationally famous artists of her time, being made a Dame in 1965. She tragically died, in 1975, in a fire at her studio in St Ives.