This abstract bronze sculpture was created by Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), a leading figure in Modernism and in the St Ives group of artists. Of ovular form, almost pebble-shaped, the sculpture is smooth and dark in colour. The inside is pierced, revealing an abstract-shaped hole in the centre, and features a patina. The sculpture stands on a wooden plinth, which is monographed ‘BH’ and numbered ‘1/7’ on the verso.
Hepworth’s interest in pierced forms and abstract shapes began in her marble carving work of the 1930s, when she fell in love with British Modernist painter Ben Nicholson. Visits abroad together enabled them to be inspired by artists such as Mondrian, Picasso and Gabo, who were also experimenting with cubism and geometric forms in their art. This influence is clear in this particular work.
At the outbreak of war in 1939, Hepworth and Nicholson settled in St Ives, Cornwall, with their three children. Here, her work developed alongside other Modernist artists who had also sought refuge in Cornwall during the war, and she experimented with other materials. Bronze casting featured heavily in her work from the 1950s. Titled ‘Zennor’, the present piece was likely inspired by the village of the same name, a few miles from her home in St Ives.
This object is on display at RAMM in the Courtyard.