Dame Barbara Hepworth

Forms in Movement (Pavan)

1956–9, cast 1967

In Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden

Dame Barbara Hepworth 1903–1975
Object: 795 × 1060 × 625mm
Presented by the executors of the artist's estate 1980

Catalogue entry

Dame Barbara Hepworth 1903-1975

T03136 Forms in Movement (Pavan) 1956-9, cast 1967

BH 453; cast 0/7

Bronze on bronze base 775 x 1080 x 585 (30 1/2 x 42 1/2 x 23)

Cast inscription on top of base 'Barbara Hepworth 1967 0/7' back l., and cast foundry mark on back of base 'Morris Singer FOUNDERS LONDON' t.r.

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

Exhibited (ý = unidentified cast, ü = other cast):
Barbara Hepworth, Tate Gallery, April-May 1968 (78ü)
Sculpture Exhibition: City of London Festival, Financial Times foyer, June 1968 (22ý)
Syon Park Sculpture Exh., summer 1968 (catalogue not traced ý)
Barbara Hepworth, Gimpel Gallery, New York, April-May 1969 (15ý, repr., as Pavan)
Barbara Hepworth 1903-75, Gimpel Fils, Oct.-Nov. 1975 (11ü, repr.)

Edwin Mullins, 'Barbara Hepworth', Barbara Hepworth Exhibition 1970, exh. cat., Hakone Open-Air Museum, Japan, 1970, unpag.
Alan Bowness (ed.), The Complete Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth 1960-69, 1971, p.453 no.46
David Fraser Jenkins, Barbara Hepworth: A Guide to the Tate Gallery Collection at London and St Ives, Cornwall, 1982, p.17, repr. p.30
Tate Gallery Acquisitions 1980-2, 1984, pp.114-15, repr.
Alan G. Wilkinson, 'Cornwall and the Sculpture of Landscape: 1939-1975' in Penelope Curtis and Alan G. Wilkinson, Barbara Hepworth: A Retrospective, exh. cat., Tate Gallery Liverpool 1994, p.99
Sally Festing, Barbara Hepworth: A Life of Forms, 1995, p.224

Cindy Nemser, 'In the Galleries', Arts, vol.43, no.7, May 1969, p.59
Michael Williams, People and Places in Cornwall, 1985, p.59;

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

During 1956 Barbara Hepworth experimented with two new materials for making sculpture: armatures of expanded aluminium for works such as Curved Form (Trevalgan) (Tate Gallery T00353) and sheet metal for works such as Orpheus (Tate Gallery T00955). Forms in Movement (Pavan) lies at the junction of the techniques which evolved as a result of these materials: it was cast from a work made with expanded aluminium, the form of which was based upon the copper Forms in Movement (Galliard) , 1956 (BH 212, Gimpel Fils, repr. J.P. Hodin, Barbara Hepworth, 1961, pl.212). The demands being made on Hepworth for more sculptures and on a larger scale were met by these techniques, both of which facilitated the production of editions.

The multiplicity of slightly differing works with associated titles is characteristic of the editioning of Hepworth's sculpture at this moment. The Pavan group is typical, with the Tate's work coming from the fourth stage. Informed by the artist, Edwin Mullins observed that the first stage was Forms in Movement (Galliard) , 1956 (Mullins 1970). The combined strength and flexibility of the copper allowed Hepworth to bend it in order to describe space without filling it. The strips of metal had curved profiles and were stacked into the three loops of a seemingly continuous whirling line building from the centre at which they are attached. The span is 760mm (30 in.); an edition of six was made by Hepworth and her assistants. The broadening of the upper curve and its flattened edge reappear in the related works. The slightly larger (914mm / 36 in.) Curved Form (Pavan) 1956 (BH 210, Wakefield City Art Gallery, repr. Hodin 1961, pl.210) had the same formal character but the use of 'metalised plaster' (ibid.) - plaster over an aluminium armature - may account for the more weighty horizontal emphasis. Both works were exhibited at Gimpel Fils in mid-1956 (Recent Work by Barbara Hepworth, June 1956), where the latter appeared as 'Forms in Movement (Pavan)'. It was included in Hepworth's Exhibition on the Occasion of the Conferment of the Honorary Freedom of St Ives (St Ives parish churchyard, 1968); a second version was made for the collector Tom Slick.

As the third stage in the series, a concrete version was made and called Forms in Movement (Pavan) (BH 211, destroyed, repr. Hodin 1961, pl.211). This was 1143 mm (45 in.) wide and is usually dated to 1956. However, Dicon Nance recalled working on it when he became an assistant to Hepworth in 1959 (letter to the Tate 27 March 1981, Tate Gallery Files). He described the process, beginning with the armature which was: 'expanded steel "metal lathing" as it is called in the building trade, and the cement was applied in small quantities over several days. This made a surprisingly strong and homogeneous structure'. Significantly, he added: 'Like all Barbara's versions ... there was no attempt at making a replica with all the attendant measurements. Each form, though basically as the original, was judged on its own, especially if there was a change in scale' (ibid.).

It was from the concrete that the edition of seven bronzes - and the artist's copy (0/7) which came to the Tate - was cast in 1967. It remains unclear why Hepworth waited to have it cast, but the concrete had become brittle and was irretrievably damaged and destroyed in the process. The cast of Forms in Movement (Pavan) retained the roughened surface of the concrete and the flat edges resulting from the armature. It also contrasted the high flattened curve to the left and the two lower loops to the right. All three are fixed to a circular bronze plate, positioned on the base to the right of centre. The green patination of the Tate's copy has been slightly worn down to the raw bronze on the upper surfaces and, because of its location in the artist's garden, has suffered from bird lime and the accumulation of water in its central cradle. The surface is cleaned and coated with wax annually (Tate Gallery Conservation Files).

In the late 1960s, Hepworth claimed that 'Man's discovery of flight has radically altered the shape of our sculpture, just as it has altered our thinking' (Mullins, 1970). Remarking on Forms in Movement (Galliard), Mullins added that 'the exultant spirit ... emerged more radiantly still once she was able to merge the theme of dance with that of flight' (ibid.). In this way he alluded to the subtitles which Anglicise the complementary sixteenth-century dances, galliarde and pavane; Alan Wilkinson has explained: 'A galliard is a quick and lively dance in triple time; a pavan is a grave and stately dance' (Wilkinson 1994, p.99). Fauré and Ravel had composed modern pavans, which may have come to Hepworth's attention. A suitably processional dance is implied in the frieze of abstracted figures in the drawing, Monolith - Pavan, 1953 (Bowness 1963, fig.35). This also suggests how the interest in dance elided with Hepworth's interest in social interaction and a sense of communal activity. The sculptures convey the rhythmic quality of movement and explore space in a formal way which is distinct from the drawing.

The Pavan group of sculptures may be compared to those of Hepworth's contemporaries. The elegant metal sheet of Forms in Movement (Galliard) contrasts with the black wrought surfaces of the iron sculptures of younger British sculptors such as Reg Butler. Instead, it has parallels with Gabo's Spheric Theme which was conceived in 1936-7 (e.g. Model for 'Spheric Theme "with Centre" ', c.1937, Tate Gallery T02174) although the dating of the metal versions is open to question (see Colin Sanderson and Christina Lodder, 'Catalogue Raisonné' in Steven A. Nash and Jörn Merkert, Naum Gabo: Sixty Years of Constructivism, exh. cat., Dallas Museum of Art 1985, p.224, no.42.1). Gabo had cut and curved sheets into related concentric conoids so that the outer edge, forming a line similar to the seam of a tennis ball, implied the surface of a sphere. Hepworth similarly used the sheet metal to describe space, although the geometrical regularity of the curves of Gabo's Spheric Theme contrasts with her more free-flowing loops appropriate to the gesture of the dance. In Hepworth's concrete and bronze versions, the roughened surface makes the contrast more noticeable.

Matthew Gale
March 1998

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