To mark the anniversary of English artist Barbara Hepworth’s 1939 move to the coastal town of St. Ives in Cornwall, where she would set up a studio and live for nearly 40 years, Google has released an animated doodle of the sculptor at work on one of her celebrated abstract sculptures. Hepworth, who died in 1975, is widely considered one of the most important and prolific modernist sculptors, having gained international fame for dynamic works that often examine duality and balance.
Today, Hepworth’s legacy remains significant in St. Ives, where Tate maintains the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. The institution is located on the site of Trewyn studio, where Hepworth lived and worked.
The artist once wrote, “Finding Trewyn studio was a sort of magic. Here was a studio, a yard and garden where I could work in open air and space.”
Born in 1903 in Wakefield, England, Hepworth attended the Royal College of Art in London from 1921 to 1924. One of her contemporaries was the sculptor Henry Moore, with whom Hepworth maintained a friendship throughout her life. Though she remains best known for her sculptures, Hepworth also created drawings and paintings—one of her most storied series in those mediums focused on hospital scenes in postwar Britain.
During her career, Hepworth exhibited at institutions across the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. She represented Britain at the 1950 Venice Biennale and won the Grand Prix at the 1959 Bienal de São Paulo. In 2015, her work was the subject of a retrospective that opened at Tate Britain in London and traveled to the Kröller-Müller Museum and Arp Museum in Germany.
On the occasion of Google’s presentation of its doodle, the Hepworth Wakefield in the artist’s hometown announced that it would present a comprehensive exhibition of Hepworth’s work in summer 2021. The forthcoming presentation will mark the institution’s 10th anniversary.