Posts Tagged ‘Barbara Hepworth’

Exhibitions | Reminder: Don’t Miss These…

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

McDermott & McGough, Those Moments, 1955, 2010
Tricolour carbon print. Courtesy the artists and Cheim & Read, New York.
On show at The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, see below



The Blog team return next week.
Whether you’re staying at home or travelling,
here’s our selection of some of the best
of what’s on show this summer >>>



Doug Aitken, Sunset (black and white), 2011
Hand carved foam, epoxy with LED lights and hand silk-screened acrylic.
Courtesy the artist, 303 Gallery, New York, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, Victoria Miro Gallery, London and Regen Projects, LA. Photo © Brian Forrest.
On show at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, see below



>>> Until 23 August 2015
Coop Himmelb(l)au
Frankfurt Lyon Dalian

DeutschesArchitekturmuseum (DAM)
Frankfurt | Germany
Vienna-based architectural practice with the long-winded name Coop Himme(l)blau Wolf D Prix & Partner, long-time player on the international architecture scene, founded in 1968 in response to the predominance of rectilinear grids, set out to liberate architecture from its functional confines by rendering space more dynamic and buildings gravity-defying. The exhibition presents three of the studio’s latest projects: the new European Central Bank building (2015) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the Musée des Confluences (2014) in Lyon, France, and the Dalian International Conference Centre in China (2012), see image below.

>>> Auction 28 Aug 2015
Japanese Whisky
Christie’s
Admiralty | Hong Kong
Featuring Hanyu Ichito’s Full Cards Series of 54 bottles of the spirit, each with beautifully-designed individual labels on a playing card theme, which are expected to sell for HK$1.8 m > 2.4 m / £150,000 > 200,000 / US$230,000 > 310,000.

>>> Until 28 August 2015
Joana Vasconcelos:
Material World

Phillips
(Selling exhibition)
London | UK

Forty works representing various periods of sculptor and installation artist Joana Vasconcelos’s career to date, coinciding with the publication of her monograph by Thames & Hudson.

>>> Until 13 September 2015
Perfect Likeness:
Photography and Composition

The Hammer Museum
Los Angeles | USA

Having reached a point when everyone thinks he / she is a photographer, and where photography of every possible style and quality pervades every corner of our daily lives, this exhibition looks at the carefully composed images of fine art photographers such as Thomas Demand, Andreas Gursky, McDermott & McGough and Jeff Wall.

>>> Until 13 September 2015
Design Derby:
The Netherlands – Belgium (1815 > 2015)

Museum Boijmans
Van Beuningen

Rotterdam | Netherlands

Like for like Dutch and Belgium design objects – from sumptuous and elegant Belgian art nouveau to the more austere Dutch version, and from the contemporary tours de force of Belgium design to the level-headed Dutch design of today – confront one other in friendly competition.

>>> Until 25 October 2015
Fast Fashion
The Shadowy Side of Fashion

Museum für Kunst und
Gewerbe Hamburg

Hamburg | Germany
A critical glimpse behind the scenes of fashion – consumerism, economic interests and ecological issues – throwing light upon fashion and its victims; poverty and affluence; global and local effects; wages and profits; garments and chemicals; clothes and ecology; as well as new fibre technologies.

>>> Until 26 September 2015
Larry Bell 2D-3D:
Glass & Vapor

White Cube, Mason’s Yard
London | UK
Larry Bell (b 1939, Chicago) is a leading exponent of the California ‘Light and Space’ movement. The exhibition includes three early glass installations as well as collages on paper and new, kinetic Light Knot sculptures. To coincide with a major presentation of a Standing Wall installation of thirty-two, six foot square glass panels (c1989 >2014) currently on show at the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas, USA, at White Cube, Bell has installed 6 x 8 An Improvisation.

>>> Until 27 September 2015
Doug Aitken
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Frankfurt | Germany
Following on from his Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening extravaganza at London’s Barbican, The Shirn dedicates its entire exhibition space, inside and out, to the impressive work of American multimedia-artist Doug Aitken, in the most comprehensive solo presentation of his film, music, architecture, performance and sculpture in Germany and elsewhere to date, see image above

>>> Until 27 September 2015
Germaine Krull
A Photographer’s Journey

Jeu de Paume
Paris | France
The idea of the female career photographer – rather than dabbler or dilettante – didn’t properly materialise until free-spirited women such as Gertrude Krull (1897 > 1985) thrust herself headlong into the male-dominated mêlée in the 1920s.



One-sheet poster for Sullivan’s Travels, directed by Preston Sturges, 1941
Poster art direction by Maurice Kallis. Courtesy Sikelia Productions.
On show at MoMA in New York, see below

Dalian International Conference Centre, China, by
Coop Himmelb(l)au Wolf D Prix & Partner, in Vienna, Austria

Photo © Duccio Malagamba.
On show at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt, see above



>>> Until 27 September 2015
What is Luxury?
V&A
London | UK
The world’s biggest museum of the decorative arts and design has a permanent, historic collection of over 4.5 million objects. By definition it is a museum of things, many of which are extremely valuable and considered to be luxurious items. With over 100 objects, ‘From a diamond made from roadkill to a vending machine stocked with DNA, a golden crown for ecclesiastical use to traditional military tailoring, this exhibition addresses how luxury is made and understood in a physical, conceptual and cultural capacity.’

>>> Until September 30
Scorsese Collects [film posters]
Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
In celebration of director Martin Scorsese’s enduring commitment to the preservation of international film culture, MoMA presents 34 works from his collection, centred around a rare, billboard-size poster for the 1951 film Tales of Hoffmann. The exhibition will be accompanied by the film series Scorsese Screens throughout August.

>>> Until 4 October 2015
From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires:
Grete Stern & Horacio Coppola

Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
The first major exhibition of the German-born Grete Stern and the Argentinean Horacio Coppola, two leading figures of avant-garde photography who, in the 1930s, established themselves on both sides of the Atlantic.

>>> Until 18 October 2015
The 80s. Figurative
Painting in West Germany

Städel Museum
Frankfurt | Germany
Shedding light on the new and dynamic figurative painting that developed in the 1980s almost simultaneously in Berlin, Hamburg and the Rhineland. Works by among many other artists, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, and Salomé.

>>> Until 25 October 2015
Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture
for a Modern World

Tate Britain
London | UK
Retrospective of one of Britain’s greatest artists, Barbara Hepworth (1903 > 1975), one of the few women artists to achieve widespread recognition and international prominence, featuring many of her most significant sculptures in wood, stone and bronze alongside her rarely seen works that exemplified modernism from the 1920s onwards.

>>> Until 25 October 2015
Gilbert & George:
The Early Years

Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
‘It’s not a collaboration. . . We are two people, but one artist,’ say the inseparable British artists, Gilbert and George, who have been creating art together for almost fifty years. This exhibition focuses on their early years, from 1969 to 1975, when the art world around them was largely engaged in pop, minimal, and conceptual work, while the pair developed a wholly unique vision.

>>> Until 26 October 2015
Radikal Moderne Planen
und Bauen im Berlin
der Sechziger Jahre

/ Planning and Building
in Berlin in the 1960s

Berlinische Galerie
Berlin | Germany
Via 300 known works and recently rediscovered material representing 30 architects, planners, photographers and artists, this is the first detailed examination of a decade in architecture and urban planning that shaped a city divided not only by a wall, but also by political ideologies.

>>> Until 31 October 2015
Stone Fenoyl (1945 > 1987).
An Imaginary Geography.
A Documentary Record

Château de Tours
(in association with Jeu de Paume)
Tours | France

Famous for his ability to discover and nurture new photographers, and for his admiration of anonymous 19th century photographs, iconographer, curator, art buyer, gallery and Vu agency (now Viva) founder, Pierre de Fenoyl was the first director of France’s National Foundation Photography in 1976. Champion of the work of Brassai, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Duane Michals and André Kertész, alongside prints, documents, films and publications, this retrospective also shows the black and white landscape photography he created himself from 1984.

>>> Until 1 November 2015
Fotografia Futurista
Galleria Carla Sozzani
Milan | Italy
With over one hundred original photographs, representing the work of over thirty photographers, this exhibition demonstrates how, over a fifty-year period, the futurists took possession of the photographic language and used it as a medium to capture the pulse of early 20th century life. In so doing, they transformed photography into the dynamic, potent and multifaceted force it became in both art and commerce in the twentieth century.

>>> Until 31 January 2016
Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
V&A
London | UK
Exploring the euphoria and obsession they can inspire, more than 200 pairs of historic and contemporary shoes from the V&A’s unrivalled international collection, worn by or associated with high profile figures including Marilyn Monroe, Queen Victoria, Sarah Jessica Parker and the Hon Daphne Guinness are on display. Famous shoes, such as the ballet slippers designed for Moira Shearer in the 1948 film The Red Shoes, are exhibited alongside footwear by 70 named designers including Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Miuccia Prada.



Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you.

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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Exhibitions | This Summer, Don’t Miss These…

Friday, July 24th, 2015

McDermott & McGough, Those Moments, 1955, 2010
Tricolour carbon print. Courtesy the artists and Cheim & Read, New York.
On show at The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, see below



The Blog team is away.
Whether you stay at
home or go travelling,
h
ere’s our selection of
some of the best of what’s
on show this summer >>>



Doug Aitken, Sunset (black and white), 2011
Hand carved foam, epoxy with LED lights and hand silk-screened acrylic.
Courtesy the artist, 303 Gallery, New York, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, Victoria Miro Gallery, London and Regen Projects, LA. Photo © Brian Forrest.
On show at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, see below



>>> Until 23 August 2015
Coop Himmelb(l)au
Frankfurt Lyon Dalian
DeutschesArchitekturmuseum (DAM)
Frankfurt | Germany
Vienna-based architectural practice with the long-winded name Coop Himme(l)blau Wolf D Prix & Partner, long-time player on the international architecture scene, founded in 1968 in response to the predominance of rectilinear grids, set out to liberate architecture from its functional confines by rendering space more dynamic and buildings gravity-defying. The exhibition presents three of the studio’s latest projects: the new European Central Bank building (2015) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the Musée des Confluences (2014) in Lyon, France, and the Dalian International Conference Centre in China (2012), see image below.

>>> Auction 28 Aug 2015
Japanese Whisky
Christie’s
Admiralty | Hong Kong
Featuring Hanyu Ichito’s Full Cards Series of 54 bottles of the spirit, each with beautifully-designed individual labels on a playing card theme, which are expected to sell for HK$1.8 m > 2.4 m / £150,000 > 200,000 / US$230,000 > 310,000.

>>> Until 28 August 2015
Joana Vasconcelos:
Material World
Phillips
(Selling exhibition)
London | UK
Forty works representing various periods of sculptor and installation artist Joana Vasconcelos’s career to date, coinciding with the publication of her monograph by Thames & Hudson.

>>> Until 13 September 2015
Perfect Likeness:
Photography and
Composition
The Hammer Museum
Los Angeles | USA

Having reached a point when everyone thinks he / she is a photographer, and where photography of every possible style and quality pervades every corner of our daily lives, this exhibition looks at the carefully composed images of fine art photographers such as Thomas Demand, Andreas Gursky, McDermott & McGough and Jeff Wall.

>>> Until 13 September 2015
Design Derby:
The Netherlands – Belgium (1815 > 2015)
Museum Boijmans
Van Beuningen
Rotterdam | Netherlands

Like for like Dutch and Belgium design objects – from sumptuous and elegant Belgian art nouveau to the more austere Dutch version, and from the contemporary tours de force of Belgium design to the level-headed Dutch design of today – confront one other in friendly competition.

>>> Until 25 October 2015
Fast Fashion
The Shadowy Side of Fashion
Museum für Kunst und
Gewerbe Hamburg

Hamburg | Germany
A critical glimpse behind the scenes of fashion – consumerism, economic interests and ecological issues – throwing light upon fashion and its victims; poverty and affluence; global and local effects; wages and profits; garments and chemicals; clothes and ecology; as well as new fibre technologies.

>>> Until 26 September 2015
Larry Bell 2D-3D:
Glass & Vapor

White Cube, Mason’s Yard
London | UK
Larry Bell (b 1939, Chicago) is a leading exponent of the California ‘Light and Space’ movement. The exhibition includes three early glass installations as well as collages on paper and new, kinetic Light Knot sculptures. To coincide with a major presentation of a Standing Wall installation of thirty-two, six foot square glass panels (c1989 >2014) currently on show at the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas, USA, at White Cube, Bell has installed 6 x 8 An Improvisation.

>>> Until 27 September 2015
Doug Aitken
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Frankfurt | Germany
Following on from his Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening extravaganza at London’s Barbican, The Shirn dedicates its entire exhibition space, inside and out, to the impressive work of American multimedia-artist Doug Aitken, in the most comprehensive solo presentation of his film, music, architecture, performance and sculpture in Germany and elsewhere to date, see image above

>>> Until 27 September 2015
Germaine Krull
A Photographer’s Journey
Jeu de Paume
Paris | France
The idea of the female career photographer – rather than dabbler or dilettante – didn’t properly materialise until free-spirited women such as Gertrude Krull (1897 > 1985) thrust herself headlong into the male-dominated mêlée in the 1920s.



One-sheet poster for Sullivan’s Travels, directed by Preston Sturges, 1941
Poster art direction by Maurice Kallis. Courtesy Sikelia Productions.
On show at MoMA in New York, see below

Dalian International Conference Centre, China, by
Coop Himmelb(l)au Wolf D Prix & Partner, in Vienna, Austria
Photo © Duccio Malagamba.
On show at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt, see above



>>> Until 27 September 2015
What is Luxury?
V&A
London | UK
The world’s biggest museum of the decorative arts and design has a permanent, historic collection of over 4.5 million objects. By definition it is a museum of things, many of which are extremely valuable and considered to be luxurious items. With over 100 objects, ‘From a diamond made from roadkill to a vending machine stocked with DNA, a golden crown for ecclesiastical use to traditional military tailoring, this exhibition addresses how luxury is made and understood in a physical, conceptual and cultural capacity.’

>>> Until September 30
Scorsese Collects [film posters]
Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
In celebration of director Martin Scorsese’s enduring commitment to the preservation of international film culture, MoMA presents 34 works from his collection, centred around a rare, billboard-size poster for the 1951 film Tales of Hoffmann. The exhibition will be accompanied by the film series Scorsese Screens throughout August.

>>> Until 4 October 2015
From Bauhaus to Buenos Aires:
Grete Stern & Horacio Coppola

Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
The first major exhibition of the German-born Grete Stern and the Argentinean Horacio Coppola, two leading figures of avant-garde photography who, in the 1930s, established themselves on both sides of the Atlantic.

>>> Until 18 October 2015
The 80s. Figurative
Painting in West Germany

Städel Museum
Frankfurt | Germany
Shedding light on the new and dynamic figurative painting that developed in the 1980s almost simultaneously in Berlin, Hamburg and the Rhineland. Works by among many other artists, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, and Salomé.

>>> Until 25 October 2015
Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture
for a Modern World

Tate Britain
London | UK
Retrospective of one of Britain’s greatest artists, Barbara Hepworth (1903 > 1975), one of the few women artists to achieve widespread recognition and international prominence, featuring many of her most significant sculptures in wood, stone and bronze alongside her rarely seen works that exemplified modernism from the 1920s onwards.

>>> Until 25 October 2015
Gilbert & George:
The Early Years

Museum of Modern Art
New York City | USA
‘It’s not a collaboration. . . We are two people, but one artist,’ say the inseparable British artists, Gilbert and George, who have been creating art together for almost fifty years. This exhibition focuses on their early years, from 1969 to 1975, when the art world around them was largely engaged in pop, minimal, and conceptual work, while the pair developed a wholly unique vision.

>>> Until 26 October 2015
Radikal Moderne Planen
und Bauen im Berlin
der Sechziger Jahre
/
Planning and Building
in Berlin in the 1960s

Berlinische Galerie
Berlin | Germany
Via 300 known works and recently rediscovered material representing 30 architects, planners, photographers and artists, this is the first detailed examination of a decade in architecture and urban planning that shaped a city divided not only by a wall, but also by political ideologies.

>>> Until 31 October 2015
Stone Fenoyl (1945 > 1987).
An Imaginary Geography.
A Documentary Record
Château de Tours
(in association with Jeu de Paume)
Tours | France
Famous for his ability to discover and nurture new photographers, and for his admiration of anonymous 19th century photographs, iconographer, curator, art buyer, gallery and Vu agency (now Viva) founder, Pierre de Fenoyl was the first director of France’s National Foundation Photography in 1976. Champion of the work of Brassai, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Duane Michals and André Kertész, alongside prints, documents, films and publications, this retrospective also shows the black and white landscape photography he created himself from 1984.

>>> Until 1 November 2015
Fotografia Futurista
Galleria Carla Sozzani
Milan | Italy
With over one hundred original photographs, representing the work of over thirty photographers, this exhibition demonstrates how, over a fifty-year period, the futurists took possession of the photographic language and used it as a medium to capture the pulse of early 20th century life. In so doing, they transformed photography into the dynamic, potent and multifaceted force it became in both art and commerce in the twentieth century.

>>> Until 31 January 2016
Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
V&A
London | UK
Exploring the euphoria and obsession they can inspire, more than 200 pairs of historic and contemporary shoes from the V&A’s unrivalled international collection, worn by or associated with high profile figures including Marilyn Monroe, Queen Victoria, Sarah Jessica Parker and the Hon Daphne Guinness are on display. Famous shoes, such as the ballet slippers designed for Moira Shearer in the 1948 film The Red Shoes, are exhibited alongside footwear by 70 named designers including Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Miuccia Prada.


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you.

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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Photography | Bill Brandt

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light
The Museum of Modern Art
New York City, USA
Until 12th August, 2013

Enormously influential, Bill Brandt’s work was the backbone and beating heart of mid-20th century British photography. His high-contrast, pioneering explorations, ranging across every aspect of the medium from reportage and portraiture to nudes and landscape, are indispensable to the notion of Britishness during that era.

Yet Brandt (1904-83) was German-born and had cut his heels in Man Ray’s Paris studio before moving to the UK in the 1930s, where he quickly became established as a documentary photographer of the extreme social contrasts prevalent in his adopted country. He photographed London’s glitzy West End, the suburbs and the slums. He recorded everything that went on in the life of a wealthy home: cocktail-parties in the garden; formidable parlourmaids laying elaborate dinner tables and preparing baths for the family, then he took his camera a working-class family home, where several children shared the same bed while their mother sat knitting in the corner of the room.

But Brandt has said that by the end of World War II, his main themes had disappeared, that documentary photography had become ‘fashionable’. His reaction was to change his style completely and return to the ‘poetic’ aspect of photography that had inspired him in his Paris days. While the earlier, gritty output would inspire later photographers such as Don McCullin, the new work – nudes, portraits, landscapes – made him an ingredient as essential to the establishment of British modernism as the sculptures of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, and the paintings of Ben Nicholson.

Bringing together over 150 works from an artist who sited influences as diverse as Eugène Atget (1857-1927) and Orsen Welles (1915-1985), MoMA’s Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light retrospective exhibition analyses each chapter in Brandt’s 50 year career.

Bill Brandt photographs from top
Jean Dubuffet, 1960
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Modern Art
John Parkinson III Fund

Bombed Regency Staircase, Upper Brook Street, Mayfair, c 1942
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Modern Art
Acquired through the generosity of Clarissa Alcock Bronfman

London, 1954
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Modern Art
Acquired through the generosity of Clarissa Alcock Bronfman
and Richard E Salomon

Evening in Kenwood, c 1934
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Modern Art
Acquired through the generosity of David Dechman and Michel Mercure,
and the Committee on Photography Fund
All images © 2012 Bill Brandt Archive Limited


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, gardens, books, design and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Auction | Modern & Post-War British Art

Friday, October 28th, 2011


Modern & Post-War British Art

Sotheby’s, London. Evening Sale, 15th November, 2011

Exhausted. Broke. Britain, after Hitler’s war was a barren and desolate landscape. But while the rest of Europe rapidly recovered, rebuilding both their shattered cities and economies, Britain lagged behind, its population having to endure food rationing – that had begun in 1940 – until 1954. The country’s economy never really got going again until the latter half of the 1980s. It might be surprising and seem ironic then that a group of paintings, drawings and sculpture representative of the prodigious output by British artists from the post-war years, together with others from the 21-year inter-war period – itself dogged by unemployment and poverty, and hit hard by the 1929 Wall Street Crash – are expected to reach a combined total of £7.2 – 10.8 m ($11.9 – 17.3m) in this forthcoming auction at Sotheby’s, London.

Born in 1878 – well before WWI during which he was a war artist – master-draughtsman, Augustus John’s, David at the Table portrays the somewhat idealised image of a haggard though handsome, wild-eyed young man in work clothes sat slumped at a plain table on which one senses there is no food and might not have been for some time. Generally considered to be the most famous British artist of his day, John himself was never short of money or commissions, however he cultivated a bohemian image inspired by his admiration for the lifestyle of gypsies. Perhaps the bluntness of Laurence Stephen Lowry’s painting, The Cripples (Political Argument) executed shortly after WWII comes closer to reality. Along with other Lowry’s it is also included in the sale.

Bridget Riley, born to middle-class London parents in 1931, would have been eight years old when war broke out in 1939. Raised in the relative safety of the west country, she was educated at Cheltenham Ladies College before coming up to London to study at Goldsmiths then at The Royal College of Art. Her signature, disorientating Op Art painting style matured at the beginning of the 60s with which it and she became synonymous. At a time when the younger generation, anxious to escape the dullness and squalor of the 1950s, living in the shadow of the Cold War and of the possibility of a nuclear holocaust, experimented with hallucinogenic drugs, these paintings were said to inspire audience participation. Becoming disillusioned when her style was exploited for commercial purposes, Riley abandoned it in favour of pursuing ideas concerned with colour, in so doing backing away from the limelight. She was fifty-one when she painted the strikingly linear Praise 1 at the dawn of the 80s.

The same age as Riley, Frank Auerbach, whose gaunt work, Head of Gerda Boehm, among others is also included in the sale, was born of Jewish parentage in Berlin. Sent to England in 1939 to escape Nazism, his mother and father remained behind and perished in concentration camps. Young Frank was evacuated to Shropshire but ended up attending London’s St Martin’s School of Art and going on to the RCA, where he and Bridget Riley were contemporaries.

Painter, William Roberts, started out as a poster designer and studied at the Slade; leaving the school in 1913 he travelled in France and Italy and fought in the trenches during WWI, the sheer horror of the experience, as with many other artists who went to fight, significantly changing the direction of his work. Roberts was one of the signatories to the first issue of BLAST, the short-lived literary magazine of the Vorticist movement in Britain. He developed an interest for representing and interpreting the predominantly working class elements of metropolitan London’s everyday life and events – visits to the cinema, the dancehall but treating them with dignity and humour. Roberts’ painting:s The Boxing Match, produced between 1919-25 and The Barber’s Shop, circa 1946, along with Bath Night, 1929, are all in this sale.In contrast, Barbara Hepworth’s Mincarlo: Three Curves with Strings, created in 1971, only four years before the sculptor’s death and, although small in size – only 16.5 cm high, excluding black, polished stone base – is unashamedly extravagant and luxurious in use of materials.

Hepworth, from Wakefield in Yorkshire was born in 1903 to middle class parents and died in 1975; her adulthood spans much of the scope of this sale. Aged 17, not long after the Great War ended, she went to Leeds School of Art before being accepted at the RCA, soon becoming well-connected to the up-and-coming art cognescenti including sculptors Henry Moore and John Skeaping. Marrying the latter, the couple regularly exhibited together to great acclaim but drifted apart and separated in 1931. Soon after Hepworth met Ben Nicholson whom she was later to marry and to form a long-standing creative relationship with in which together they moved into abstraction. Both artists benefited enormously from forging links to the continental avant gardists – Picasso, Mondrian, Brancusi – and from those artists who fled Europe and came to England prior to WWII – Gabo, Walter Gropius, Moholy-Nagy. When the war began Hepworth and Nicholson relocated to St Ives in Cornwall where they continued to work and succeeded in their efforts to attract international attention. In the 50s, after divorcing Nicholson, Hepworth confirmed her reputation as one of Britain’s major artists producing two sculptures for 1951’s Festival of Britain and retrospective shows in Wakefield and at London’s Whitechapel. Both the 50s and 60s were good to her; Hepworth’s international stature grew. She was awarded the CBE and later, the DBE. She had a further retrospective in 1962 at the Whitechapel, became a trustee of the Tate and had a retrospective exhibition there in 1968. Barbara Hepworth died in St Ives in 1975 – her studio and garden there are now a museum administered by the Tate – after a long battle with cancer. Celebrating her achievement and named in her honour, 2011 saw the opening of the Hepworth Wakefield gallery in her home town.

Sold earlier this year through Christies and significantly surpassing its estimated sale price of £70,000 – £100,000, ($112,980 – $161,400) selling at £145,000 ($236,612), the Mincarlo: Three Curves with Strings, sculpture is of 18 carat gold (Apparently, the best gold you can get for making precious objects, 22 carat is too soft). Deep in the current world recession, apparently far worse than that of the 30s and in post WWII Britain, and as gold prices head towards $5,000 (£3,127) an ounce, curiously in Sotheby’s Modern & Post-war British Art sale the estimated price for this piece exactly matches the earlier Christie’s estimate.

Works from top
Bridget Riley, Praise 1, circa 1981. Estimate £150,000-250,000
Augustus John OM, RA, David at the Table. Estimate £20,000-30,00
Dame Barbara Hepworth, Mincarlo: Three Curves with Strings, 1971.
Estimate £70,000-100,000
Frank Auerbach, Head of Gerda Boehm, 1971. Estimate £180,000-250,000
William Roberts RA, The Barber’s Shop, circa 1946. Estimate, £70,000-100,000


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Look out for The Blog’s posts on art, architecture, gardens, books, design and anything else that interests me and I think might interest you

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Architecture | Greyed Out

Friday, June 3rd, 2011


David Chipperfield Architects’ The Hepworth Wakefield

Wakefield, North Yorkshire

For so many years overshadowed by her contemporary, friend and fellow sculptor, Henry Moore – also from this neck of the wood – it is only just and fitting that Barbara Hepworth has at last been honoured with an eponymously-named gallery in her home town of Wakefield, West Yorkshire. Previously, to see a decent-sized body of her oevre, it was necessary to trek all the way down to the little stone house in St Ives, Cornwall, where for much of her life she lived and worked, building a workshop at the rear and arranging favourite pieces in the modest walled garden. (See The Blog, Edges Rounded, Sharp Points Blunted, Friday, April 9th, 2010).

I had seen versions of 2011 RIBA prizewinners Chipperfield Architects’ proposals for the gallery building in maquette form at his formidable David Chipperfield Form Matters exhibition at London’s Design Museum in 2009. What resembled a modest settlement that might have grown organically over a period of time – built as dwellings or for related functional reasons – of blocky buildings with slanted rooves on the bank of a fast-flowing river that lapped against its foundations, the design of which had been rendered in thin, pale cream card and in pale wood. I was impressed and could not wait to see the finished thing.

Wakefield is trying hard to attract visitors. The new gallery is part of the same initiative as the newly-pedestrianised shopping areas and the once grey tower blocks now capped with ridged rooves and painted in jolly colours. I had not been before and found it a busy, optimistic and bustling town.

Even though, having done my homework, I knew already what to expect, it was quite a shock to be confronted by the flat, mid-grey gallery building, its blocky appearance broken only by the blurry joints of the concrete blocks used inits construction and the insertion of what at first sight appear as randomly-sized and randomly-positioned, black-framed, rectangular windows. The lightness, freshness and optimism of the maquettes is replaced by a brooding, uncompromisingly angular mass of tinted concrete which nods more than a little to the great Japanese minimalist architect, Tadao Ando. The weeping willows along the river bank might well weep. The saving grace, however, is Chipperfield’s elegant pedestrian bridge – which, presumably, because the gallery’s parking space is extremely limited, most visitors are expected to use as access – that stretches from the north side of the river over a gaggle of gaily painted boats to the gallery’s main entrance. Only from this aspect, despite its dour hue, the building beckons and looks approachable.

Inside it is almost a completely different story. The tall walls and ceilings of the gallery spaces are painted white. They flow easily into one another. Hepworth’s sculptures and the city’s collection of paintings are carefully sited to make good use of the natural light that enters via cleverly-designed slits at the edges of the ceilings. As well as bringing light inside the floor deep windows justify their positions by drawing visitors toward them – there is even a bench built into a grey felt-covered niche facing one of them that visitors queue to use.

The majority of Barbara Hepworth’s work can be described as curvy, organic and sensual. On leaving, I found myself wondering what she might have thought about David Chipperfield’s choice of colour and materials for the exterior of this building.

All photographs © Pedro Silmon, 2011. You can see more of my architecture, interior and garden photography at Arcaid Images

Have you been to see The Hepworth Wakefield?
What do you think of it?

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Edges Rounded, Sharp Points Blunted

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Henry Moore
Tate Britain, London. 24th February – 8th August 2010

When I was a student at the RCA it was considered deeply un-cool to like Henry Moore’s work. So much so that when some of his larger pieces were temporarily installed in Hyde Park, I’m ashamed to admit, I didn’t even cross Kensington Gore to take a look at them. It wasn’t until some twenty years later, when everyone started to go on about how great his friend and contemporary Barbara Hepworth was that I began to appreciate just how important and very influential Moore was. Four Square (Walk Through), the image above, is one of Hepworth’s pieces I photographed at her St Ives garden. See more at www.pedrosilmon.com.

My having previously only seen giant-sized pieces in the flesh – Moore at Kew Gardens, 2008 – and pictures of Moore’s sculptures in books and magazines, the tiny ones – not much bigger than a Philippe Starck lemon squeezer – included in the current Tate Britain retrospective, each produced with the same care and sensitivity to materials as their larger siblings, come as a pleasant surprise. ‘Bird Basket’ 1939, one of his stringed pieces, could almost be a toy sailboat. Sadly, understandably – the smooth surfaces of his work cry out to be touched – notices in each room ask us not to – the exhibition organisers have chosen to display these diminutive works in perspex boxes. The life-size stone masks from 1928 and ’29, are placed, tantalisingly, just a little further up a wall than an average adult’s comfortable reach.

Surprising to me, too, are the drawings – reminiscent of children’s book illustration: Edward Ardizonne’s come to mind – only a couple of days ago I discovered Ardizzone was a WWII war artist, too – of people sleeping in London Underground stations during the Blitz (‘Pink and Green Sleepers’ 1941) and those of tunnelling miners (‘Miner at work on the Coalface’ 1942). But so surprising it jars is Moore’s drawing ‘Tube Shelter Perspective’, which he dated 1941. A sudden departure and, despite the doubt that has emerged over whether Moore witnessed this scene or copied it from photographs in Picture Post, an extremely compelling image, in which endless rows of ghostly, recumbent evacuees, resembling skeletal Holocaust survivors, line the walls and disappear inside a black hole. It would seem Moore had been searching for a way of giving his work the sort of edge expected of an official war artist. While his early surrealist/cubist meets Afro/Aztec 3D output could be described as benign, sometimes erotic, some of the larger pieces of the immediate post-war years, emote a similar, powerful spirit of stark pain and horror as expressed in Picasso’s 1937 ‘Guernica’ and Jacob Epstein’s far earlier, pre-WW1 sculpture, ‘Rock Drill’, 1913-14. But perhaps this wasn’t where Moore’s heart truly lay.

Referring to this exhibition – which, I crossed London and would certainly cross any road to see – a quote from The Daily Telegraph on Tate Britain’s website reads: ‘Giant of 20th Century Sculpture’. Sensitively organised and easily navigable, more-or-less chronologically arranged: the exhibits are divided between six rooms. World Cultures comes first, then Mother and Child, followed by Modernism, War Time, Post War, and finally Elmwood, a roomful of huge 1970s reclining figures carved in this cool, greyish wood. By now, edges having been rounded off and sharp points blunted; the benign element is reasserted; any sign of the early eroticism is gone. Easily missable, produced in the 1950s and tucked into a corner near the entrance to the same room, are some of Moore’s smallest sculptures: a playful series of rocking chair pieces, said to have been inspired by the birth of his only child, Mary, in 1946. For Henry Moore, ‘Gentle Giant of 20th Century Sculpture’ might perhaps be a more fitting epithet.

What did you think of Henry Moore exhibition? Please post a comment.

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