Barbara Hepworth

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  • I felt the most intense pleasure in piercing the stone in order to make an abstract form and space; quite a different sensation from that of doing it for the purpose of realism.
  • One must be entirely sensitive to the structure of the material that one is handling. One must yield to it in tiny details of execution, perhaps the handling of the surface or grain, and one must master it as a whole.
  • I must always have a clear image of the form of a work before I begin. Otherwise there is no impulse to create.
  • Half-way through any work, one is often tempted to go off on a tangent. Once you have yielded, you will be tempted to yield again and again... Finally, you would only produce something hybrid...
  • Body the centre of creation. I merely draw what I see. I draw what I feel in my body.
  • At no point do I wish to be in conflict with any man or masculine thought. It doesn't enter my consciousness. Art is anonymous. It's not competitive with men. It's a complementary contribution.
  • I found one had to do some work every day, even at midnight, because either you're professional or you're not.
  • The sculptor must search with passionate intensity for the underlying principle of the organisation of mass and tension - the meaning of gesture and the structure of rhythm.
  • My works are an imitation of my own past and present...


Barbara Hepworth, born 10 January 1903 in Wakefield, Yorkshire, died 20 May 1975 was an English artist and sculptor. Her work exemplifies Modernism and in particular modern sculpture. She was one of the first sculptors to pierce the stone or wood, and also one of the earliest female artists to achieve international prominence.

Along with artists such as Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo, Hepworth was a leading figure in the colony of artists who resided in St Ives during the Second World War.