Figure for Landscape
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© Bowness, Hepworth Estate
Gift of Fran and Ray Stark

Barbara Hepworth
British, 1960
8 ft. 11 in. x 4 ft. 4 in. x 2 ft. 3 in., 1700 lb.

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About nine feet tall, this hollowed-out bronze sculpture is a commanding presence. It is not recognizable as a specific human form, but the narrowing shape suggests the contours of a head and body. Although the piece can be viewed from all sides, the carved surface is richer and more textured from the front than from the back. The sculpture's shrouded or veiled appearance and dark, almost leathery surfaces, create a slightly foreboding quality.

Barbara Hepworth often pierced or punctured her forms, creating a play of positive and negative space. Here, the four openings accentuate the sculpture's relation to the surrounding landscape--an interplay reinforced by the work's title.

To create this sculpture, Hepworth began with an aluminum armature. Layer upon layer of plaster was piled onto this sturdy structure. When the plaster dried, Hepworth then directly carved into the hard surface, working and reworking it until she reached a final form. The form was then cast in bronze in two parts. Hepworth preferred working in the open air to ensure that when installed out-of-doors, her sculptures would respond to the light in precisely the way she intended.