Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Oval Form with Strings and Color

Barbara Hepworth (British, 1903–1975)
Elmwood and painted Elmwood with cotton strings
33 7/16 x 22 7/16 x 21 5/8 in. (85 x 57 x 55 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Gift of Hon. and Mrs. Peter I. B. Lavan, by exchange, 2007
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© Bowness, Hepworth Estate
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 920
Barbara Hepworth rivals Henry Moore as the greatest British sculptor of the twentieth century and ranks as one of the most celebrated female sculptors of any age. The artist carved Oval Form directly from a massive log of English elm when she was at the height of her powers, and it is a key work of her maturity. The egglike shape is a souvenir of her life-changing visit to the Paris atelier of Constantin Brancusi in 1933, whereas the strings derive from the work of her close friends Naum Gabo and László Moholy-Nagy, refugees who became part of the circle of British artists around Hepworth and her husband, Ben Nicholson.
the artist (1966–d. 1975; her estate, 1975–2007; sold to MMA)

Alan Bowness, ed. The Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth, 1960–69. New York, 1971, p. 39, no. 382, pl. 125, dates it 1965.

Matthew Gale and Chris Stephens. Barbara Hepworth: Works in the Tate Gallery Collection and the Barbara Hepworth Museum, St Ives. London, 1999, pp. 234, 236, 291 nn. 1 (under nos. 63, 64), date it 1965.

Gary Tinterow in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2006–2007." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Fall 2007), p. 62, ill. (color).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York, 2012, p. 429, ill. (color).

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