Barbara Hepworth, Concentration of Hands II, 1948 Private Collection, c. Bowness, Hepworth Estate, Image courtesy of Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert
THE HEPWORTH WAKEFIELD
27 October 2012 – 3 February 2013
Barbara Hepworth: The Hospital Drawings
This new exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield reveals the remarkable series of exquisite drawings and paintings made by Barbara Hepworth during the late 1940s, illustrating surgeons at work in operating theatres within Post-War Britain.
Following the hospitalisation of their daughter Sarah in 1944, Hepworth and her husband, the artist Ben Nicholson, struck up a friendship with Norman Capener, the surgeon who treated Sarah at the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital in Exeter. Through this friendship, Hepworth was invited to witness a variety of surgical procedures at Exeter and the London Clinic. Over a two-year period, 1947-49, Hepworth produced around 80 works within the series. As well as pencil, ink and chalk drawings, many were executed in both pencil and oil paint on board, and as such can be seen as both paintings and drawings.
With over 30 works on display, including Hepworth’s sketchbook, this new exhibition is the most significant presentation of this extraordinary series to date. The exhibition comprises key loans from national, public and private collections, some of which have never been exhibited previously.