Dame Barbara Hepworth


1955–6, cast 1960

In Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden

Dame Barbara Hepworth 1903–1975
Object: 795 × 460 × 360 mm
Presented by the executors of the artist's estate 1980

Catalogue entry

Dame Barbara Hepworth 1903-1975

T03135 Coré 1955-6, cast 1960

BH 208 (bronze version); cast 1/7

Bronze 740 x 400 x 300 (29 1/8 x 15 3/4 x 11 7/8) on a slate base 50 x 458 x 355

Incised inscription on back '1/7' bottom left

Presented by the executors of the artist's estate, in accordance with her wishes, 1980

Exhibited (ý = unidentified cast, ü = other cast):
Northern Artists, AC tour, Manchester City Art Gallery, July-Aug. 1960, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, Aug.-Sept., Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Sept.-Oct., Bolton Art Gallery, Oct., Bradford City Art Gallery, Nov., Carlisle Public Library and Art Gallery, Dec. (27ý, as 'Figure (Coré), 1960')
Barbara Hepworth, Galerie Charles Lienhard, Zürich, Oct. 1960 (2ý, repr.)
Sculpture 1961, Welsh Committee of the Arts Council tour, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, July-Sept. 1961, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Sept., National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, Oct., University College, Bangor, Nov. (17ý, repr.)
Barbara Hepworth: An Exhibition of Sculpture from 1952-62, Whitechapel Art Gallery, May-June 1962 (not in cat.ü)
British Sculpture Today, Ashgate Gallery, Farnham, July 1962 (42ý)
Summer Exhibition, Penwith Society of Arts, St Ives, summer 1962 (116ý)
Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture and Drawings, John Lewis Partnership, Oxford Street, April 1963 (3ý)
Englische Maler und Bildhauer, Gimpel Hanover Galerie, Zürich, Aug.-Sept. 1963 (41ý, repr.)
Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture and Drawings, Gimpel Hanover Galerie, Zürich, Nov. 1963-Jan. 1964 (4bý, repr.)
Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture and Drawings, Gimpel Fils, June 1964 (4bý)
Nine Living British Sculptors, Lalit Kala Akademi/BC tour of India 1965-6, Lalit Kala Akademi Gallery, Delhi, Nov.-Dec. 1965, Government College of Arts and Crafts, Calcutta, Dec., Rajaji Hall, Madras, Jan. 1966, Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay, Feb. 1966 (23ý)
Little Missenden Festival, Oct. 1965 (no cat.)
5e Internationale Beeldententoonstellung Sonsbeek '66, Arnhem, May-Sept. 1966 (97ý)
British Sculpture: The Collection of Leicestershire Education Authority, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Dec. 1967-Jan. 1968 (24ü)
Barbara Hepworth, Tate Gallery, April-May 1968 (76ü)
Open Air Sculpture Exhibition, Syon Park, May-Sept. 1968 (no cat.ü)
Barbara Hepworth, Plymouth City Art Gallery, June-Aug. 1970 (35)
Growing Up with Art: The Leicestershire Collection for Schools and Colleges, AC tour, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Sept.-Oct. 1980, Henry Thomas Gallery, Carmarthen, Nov.-Dec., Midland group, Nottingham, Dec. 1980-Jan. 1981, Cooper Gallery, Barnsley, Feb.-March, Kirkcaldy Art Gallery, March-April, D.L.I. Museum and Arts Centre, Durham, April-May, Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport, June-July 1981 (74, repr. p.18)
Barbara Hepworth: Ten Sculptures 1951-73, New Art Centre, Nov. 1987-Jan. 1988 (7ý)
St Ives Exhibition, New Art Centre, Sept.-Oct. 1988 (16ü)

Usab, 'British Sculptress', Modern Review, Delhi, vol.119, no.4, April 1966, p.299
Tate Gallery Acquisitions 1980-2, 1984, p.114, repr.

'Pulse of the Eternal Mind', Thought, Delhi, 20 Nov. 1965, p.21
Report of the Committee of the Whitworth Art Gallery, 1968
David Fraser Jenkins, Barbara Hepworth: A Guide to the Tate Gallery Collection at London and St Ives, Cornwall, 1982, p.29

Displayed in the artist's garden, Barbara Hepworth Museum, St Ives

In common with other bronzes cast from earlier carvings, Coré spans two historical moments and so embodies two sets of concerns. It would appear that the plaster was taken from the marble original in 1959 and the bronze was cast the following year. Hepworth told Herbert Read in December 1959: 'I have had to despatch to various foundries all the bronzes needed for my show with Charles Lienhard [in Zurich] next year - &, with the prize money from Sao Paolo, I have been able to do this without a fearful feeling of anxiety' (letter dated 1 Dec. 1959, Sir Herbert Read Archive, University of Victoria, B.C.).

Other than student work, Curved Form (Trevalgan), 1956 (Tate Gallery T00353) was Hepworth's first bronze and, like many others, was cast from an original plaster. In 1958 she started making casts of early carvings such as Oval Sculpture (Tate Gallery T00953) and Discs in Echelon (Tate Gallery T03132), but Coré appears to have been the first to be cast from a more recent work. Hepworth's return to casting in 1956 had been in response to the growing demand for her work and a similar expansion of her market seems to have stimulated another increase in her production around 1959-1960. In 1959 she won the Grand Prix at the Sao Paolo Bienal and showed in New York for the first time, and the following year her South American tour was followed by her first Zurich exhibition. The casting of more bronzes was not simply to produce a greater number of works, but also to answer the practical demands of showing internationally. She explained to Read that 'the travelling circus' of biennales and British Council tours 'shriek for more and more bronzes' because 'the transporters smash all carvings'. She expressed a concern that the demands which were placed on the sculptor, for which she blamed society, would lead to over-production and sub-standard casts (29 Oct. 1961, Sir Herbert Read Archive, University of Victoria, B.C.). The number of exhibitions in which the bronze of Coré was shown, which is in contrast to the dearth of critical comment, illustrates the demand for such pieces. This is also demonstrated by the fact that the edition was sold out in 1968, four being sold in the summer of that year, when one was also presented to the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.

The original Marble Form (Coré), 1955-6 (BH 208, Coll. Mr Pierre Schlumberg, Houston, Texas) reflects, in its title and material, the influence of Hepworth's visit to Greece a year earlier. The coincidence of her return from holiday in August 1954 and the arrival of a large consignment of tropical hardwood had stimulated a series of large wood carvings, of which Corinthos, 1954-5 (Tate Gallery T00531) was the first. For Coré she used a material with more obvious Hellenic associations, white marble. Marble had been relatively rare in her output since the 1930s due to the difficulty of acquiring it; Pastorale, 1953 (BH 192, Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, repr. J.P. Hodin, Barbara Hepworth, 1961, pl. 192) is the only marble work of the period larger than Coré. 'Core' or 'Kore' is the name for a type of ancient Greek female figure sculpture, the male being 'Koros'. Hepworth's reference to that source is typically elliptical as the rigid verticality of the Archaic figures is in contrast to the organic curves of her work. However, she adopted the same material as her ancient predecessors and the concave circle on the right hand side and the crescent on the left of Coré may be seen as schematic signifiers for a face. Though her Greek notebooks reveal, above all, her fascination with the sensuous experience of the landscape, she was also attracted by the tradition of sculpture that united her and the classical sites she visited. They also show that the sculptures she saw were often fragmentary: 'Santorin ... Six lovely Archaic 7th Century sculptures. Parts of Kore and Koros. Fine marble and great scale' ('Greek Diary 1954-64', Walter Kern, ed., J.P. Hodin: European Critic, 1965, p.23).

The bronze of Coré is unpatinated, hollow and attached to its base by bronze fastenings. Some casting faults are discernable: there is slight pitting in the circular concavity and several plugs towards the top. Individual casts were given different finishes: while the Tate's retains a dark brown colouring, which was protected by a wax coating, possibly for outdoor display, at least one other cast (3/7) was highly polished and the photograph in the artist's album shows another with an uneven, mottled finish.1 This may result from the fact that much of the finishing and patinating of bronzes, especially the earlier ones, was carried out in the studio. In common with other sculptures on display in Hepworth's garden, on acquisition Coré was found to have been marked by snails, bird lime, and leaf and algae deposits. It was cleaned in 1983 and given a protective lacquer coating, but in 1989 this layer was found to be flaking. The laquer was removed and wax was applied as a protective coating and buffed to give a rich, even finish.

Chris Stephens
March 1998

1 Hepworth album, TGA 7247.25

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