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Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975)

Author of Barbara Hepworth: A Pictorial Autobiography

Includes the names: Dame Barbara Hepworth, Dame Barbara Hepworth

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Barbara Hepworth was born in Wakefield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. She attended Wakefield Girls' High School and won a scholarship to Leeds School of Art, where she befriended Henry Moore, a fellow student. She then won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London and studied there from 1921-1924. She competed for the 1924 Prix de Rome and was the runner-up to John Skeaping. She won a scholarship for travel abroad, and met Skeaping by chance in Italy; they married in Florence in 1925. The following year, she and Skeaping returned to London, where they exhibited their works together and had a son. In 1931, she met abstract painter Ben Nicholson and separated from her husband; they were divorced in 1933. In 1937, she designed the layout for Circle: An International Survey of Constructivist Art, a book edited by Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo, and Leslie Martin. Hepworth and Nicholson had triplets in 1934 and married in 1938; they were divorced in 1951. Hepworth and her family first visited Cornwall at the start of World War II. The town of St. Ives became a refuge for many artists during the war, and she became a prominent member of the community, forming a focus for the establishment of the Penwith Society of Artists with Nicholson and others, and helping to attract international attention to the group's exhibitions. She bought Trewyn Studio in St. Ives, where she lived and worked from 1949 until her death. She often used her garden, which she designed with her friend Priaulx Rainier, a composer and musician, to view her large-scale bronzes. Her works were among the earliest abstract sculptures produced in England and she became one of the most influential sculptors of the mid-20th century. A Pictorial Autobiography was published in 1970 and reissued in 1993. She died in a fire in her home at St. Ives.
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