National Museum of Women in the Arts
Barbara Hepworth
January 10 1903 - May 20 1975
Photograph of Barbara Hepworth, 1963, by Jorge Lewinsky, courtesy of Sophie Bowness. (c) Bowness, Hepworth Estate, London, England
Place of Birth:
British – English
Phonetic Spelling:
BAHRB-eh-rah HEHP-werrth
Work Type/Media:
Drawings and prints, Painting, Sculpture
Artistic Role(s):
Draftsperson, Painter, Sculptor, Stone Carver, Woodcarver
Artist's Biography:
Born in the north of England, Barbara Hepworth discovered her passion for art as a young child and, in 1920, entered Leeds School of Art. In 1921, she was admitted to the Royal College of Art in London, from which she graduated in 1924. While on a postgraduate fellowship in Italy, Hepworth worked with master stone carvers and met the British sculptor John Skeaping, whom she later married. Back in London, Hepworth was one of a small group of pioneering sculptors committed to exploring abstraction. She had her first solo exhibition in 1928 and, by the early 1930s, had developed her mature style: a sensuous kind of organic abstraction, sometimes incorporating strings, wires, colored paint, or holes piercing the sculpted form.

In 1931, Hepworth and Skeaping divorced; two years later she married the English avant-garde painter Ben Nicholson, with whom she lived and worked for the next two decades. During the 1950s, Hepworth’s reputation grew exponentially: she was represented in the Venice Biennial exhibition and won a first prize at the Biennial exhibition in São Paolo; she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1958, and was later awarded the rank of Dame in 1965.

Other Occupation(s):
Author, Trustee
Place(s) of Residence:
Where Trained/Schools:
Royal College of Art, London, England (1921-1924) Leeds School of Art, Leeds, England (1920)
Related Visual Artists:
wife of Ben Nicholson wife of John Skeaping friend of Henry Moore friend of Naum Gabo student of William Rothenstein influenced by Jean Arp influenced by Constantin Brancusi influenced by Piet Mondrian
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Honorary Member, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Cambridge, MA, USA (1973) Dame Commander (DBE), Order of the British Empire, London, England (1965) Grand Prix, São Paulo Biennial, São Paulo, Brazil (1959)
Earliest exhibition:
Beaux Arts Gallery, London, England (1928)
Artist retrospective(s):
Barbara Hepworth: a retrospective, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, USA (1995) Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, England (1980) Barbara Hepworth, Tate Gallery, London, England (1968)
Related places
Saint Ives (died at)
Merryn, 1962