Hepworth sculpture bought for Aberdeen

  • 13 December 2011

The Art Fund has helped Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums buy Meditation, a 1972 sculpture by Dame Barbara Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth, Meditation, 1972 © Bowness, Hepworth Estate / Aberdeen Art Gallery

Barbara Hepworth, Meditation, 1972

The Art Fund has helped Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums buy Meditation, a 1972 sculpture by Dame Barbara Hepworth. The sculpture originally belonged to Sir Norman Reid, an artist and former Director of the Tate, who was given the piece by Hepworth shortly before her death in 1975.

The piece

One of Barbara Hepworth’s late works, Meditation shows the artist at her most abstract. It consists of a solid piece of Irish green marble, carved to look like a naturally-worn boulder. The imitation of nature ends at the circle carved on one face of the sculpture, a clear sign of its man-made origins.

Jennifer Melville, Lead Curator of Art at Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums, said: “Aberdeen Art Gallery already had three examples of Hepworth’s work… Together these works covered the early and mid part of the artist’s career. The exceptional and extremely beautiful sculpture thus fills a very noticeable gap in the gallery’s holdings of her work.”

The artist

Born in Wakefield, sculptor Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975) created a body of work characterized by purity of form and simplicity of line, often relying on abstraction rather than figuration for its effect. In 1931 she met artist Ben Nicholson, who would become her second husband, and in 1932 they travelled to France where they mingled with the European avant garde, including Georges Braque, Piet Mondrian and Pablo Picasso.