Barbara Hepworth: Artist in Society 1948-53


St Albans Museum + Gallery is delighted to present Barbara Hepworth: Artist in Society 1948-53, a unique exhibition exploring a short yet significant period in the life of one of Britain’s most celebrated artists.

Introducing sculptures, drawings and archival material, this exhibition reunites works that have not been seen together since they were first created 70 years ago. Barbara Hepworth: Artist in Society 1948-53 shines light on an important period in Hepworth’s career immediately after the Second World War, when she began to receive wide recognition.

This newly curated exhibition explores a time in Hepworth’s career when she viewed herself as an “artist in society”. The phrase which forms the title of this exhibition is taken from the artist’s own writings and reflects her interest in social relations and groupings. It was a time when she was outward looking; both her integration into the community of St Ives and growing national reputation.  

Following on a decade in which she had been preoccupied with landscape, Hepworth moved naturally between abstraction and the figure. Finding inspiration in the movement of people in various settings, this exhibition showcases Hepworth’s ability to capture the human form: from figures congregating in Venice’s St Mark’s Square and dancers in her new Trewyn studio to medical teams performing operations at hospitals in Exeter and London.

Barbara Hepworth: Artist in Society 1948-53 includes over 100 fascinating objects, showcasing 20 significant works of different media, each shining new light on Hepworth’s craft and renewed focus on the human form during these pivotal five years.                                                                                                                                                                  

The sculptures and drawings presented include loans from Tate Gallery, Hepworth Wakefield, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, British Council, University of Edinburgh, Whitworth Gallery (University of Manchester), Pier Art Centre, Hertfordshire County Council and a number of private collectors.

Exhibition details

23 March – 8 September 2019

St Albans Museum + Gallery, Town Hall, St Peter’s Street, St Albans, AL1 3DH