Friday, October 3, 2014

Inside the Studio: Barbara Hepworth and St. Ives



Gustave Courbet, The Artist's Studio, 1854
Within the decorated walls of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, there is a work entitled The Artist’s Studio by the realist painter Gustave Courbet. In this painting, Courbet paints himself in the middle of the canvas as he is surrounded by characters of the natural world and subjects of the academy. Yet, despite these distractions around him, Courbet continues to focus on a painting in front of him and forgoes depicting the romanticized images around him. The Artist’s Studio is a compelling painting because of its poignant message about an artist’s responsibility in the world as a mediator of reality. However, it also grandly depicts Courbet within his own studio, allowing every viewer to feel present inside of it. This choice of setting is significant because an artist’s studio is a private sanctum that is often left unshared. It is evident though that these studios are imperative for creation and artistry.
 

Pablo Picasso’s atelier – Cannes, France
Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “An artist’s studio should be a small space because small rooms discipline the mind and large ones distract it”.[1] This intriguing statement by Da Vinci is sensible, yet isn’t true for most acclaimed artists. For example, Pablo Picasso’s studio spaciously resided in his home on the French Riveria. Artist Georgia O’Keeffe worked inside and outside of her ranch styled studio, which encompassed over five-thousand square feet. Comparatively, Jackson Pollock composed his works in a small barn that was initially built to store fishing equipment, the place lacked both heating and artificial light. Clearly, studios range in diversity and complexity, but it is arguable that these places are works of arts in their own right. In order to explore this concept of a studio as a work of art it is important to analyze the properties and components of a specific studio.




                       Georgia O’Keefe’s studio – Abiquiu, New Mexico    Jackson Pollock’s studio – East Hampton, New York


Artist Barbara Hepworth’s studio in her home in St. Ives was turned into a museum after the artist’s death. Hepworth and her family departed London in 1939 upon the outbreak of the World War II and settled in the small community of St. Ives in Cornwall. The war encouraged Hepworth to contemplate her place as an artist with new interest because the emotional link between art and society was now imperative. Although reluctant to depart London, Hepworth ultimately appreciated being decentralized. She felt that St. Ives was a much more responsible and encouraging community, stating, “St. Ives is a small place; but the artists and writers here do, I know, think of you and your work each day.”[2] In this aspect, Hepworth’s art becomes informed by the time and place of her environment.
 
Hepworth was influenced by the war and social engagement around her, which led to a new energy in her artwork. Intriguing, this new energy is present within the physical boundaries of Hepworth’s practice. When Hepworth acquired the Trewyn studio and her St. Ives home, the artist expressed, “ It will be a joy to carve in such a perfect place, both serene and secluded ­– the courtyard and garden are protected by tall trees and roof tops so that I can work out of doors most of the year.”[3] In fact, Hepworth’s Trewyn studio provided workshop spaces for stone carving, plasterwork, and outdoor sculpture. These spaces were maintained separately, yet were never in isolation of one another. The stone carving studio and yard acted as the heart of the studio. Whereas, she alternated between spaces for her bronze and plaster work. Additionally, Hepworth acquired the Palais de Danse, a dance studio, across the street from her Trewyn studio in 1960.  She used this space to craft large-scale works. In fact, on a visit to St. Ives in 2011, gallery director Lenore Miller toured this intimate space and viewed several of Hepworth's private works ( a photograph of this special visit is featured on the left). However, as Hepworth stated, she tried to work outside as much as possible in order to be influenced by the natural coastal echoes and images. Therefore, Hepworth’s practice was unlimited, allowing for freedom in her sculptural pieces.




Two Forms (Divided Circle) 1969 in the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden



Hepworth later shared with a friend that she felt as if she’d discovered an easy flow for the first time in her life after working in the Trewyn studio. She continued to work in this environment over a course of twenty-five years, evolving her preexisting practices and artistic flow. Yet, the studio became Hepworth’s final piece of art, which encapsulated the artist’s spirit and process. Upon Hepworth’s death in 1975, her studio was converted into an active museum, which showcases her studio workshops and outdoor sculpture. In a way, the museum acts as a living vestige or self-portrait of Hepworth. Marble dust from her creations continues to permeate the studio space as her tools and chisels lie still next to unfinished works. The garden and yard celebrate the artist’s life as it presents a biography of her work and career. The influence of St. Ives and the environment are evident from these exhibitions and truly show how an artist’s studio and place can inform their work.
 

Barbara Hepworth’s works and sculptural pieces will be on display at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery as a part of Icons of British Sculpture until October 10th.



[1] http://www.art-quotes.com/getquotes.php?catid=292
[2] Curtis, Penelope, and Alan Wilkinson. Barbara Hepworth: A Retrospective. Liverpool: Tate Gallery
     Publications, 1994. Print.
[3] Ibid.

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Howard Hodgkin: Paintings - May 16, 2012

Friday, October 3, 2014

Inside the Studio: Barbara Hepworth and St. Ives



Gustave Courbet, The Artist's Studio, 1854
Within the decorated walls of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, there is a work entitled The Artist’s Studio by the realist painter Gustave Courbet. In this painting, Courbet paints himself in the middle of the canvas as he is surrounded by characters of the natural world and subjects of the academy. Yet, despite these distractions around him, Courbet continues to focus on a painting in front of him and forgoes depicting the romanticized images around him. The Artist’s Studio is a compelling painting because of its poignant message about an artist’s responsibility in the world as a mediator of reality. However, it also grandly depicts Courbet within his own studio, allowing every viewer to feel present inside of it. This choice of setting is significant because an artist’s studio is a private sanctum that is often left unshared. It is evident though that these studios are imperative for creation and artistry.
 

Pablo Picasso’s atelier – Cannes, France
Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “An artist’s studio should be a small space because small rooms discipline the mind and large ones distract it”.[1] This intriguing statement by Da Vinci is sensible, yet isn’t true for most acclaimed artists. For example, Pablo Picasso’s studio spaciously resided in his home on the French Riveria. Artist Georgia O’Keeffe worked inside and outside of her ranch styled studio, which encompassed over five-thousand square feet. Comparatively, Jackson Pollock composed his works in a small barn that was initially built to store fishing equipment, the place lacked both heating and artificial light. Clearly, studios range in diversity and complexity, but it is arguable that these places are works of arts in their own right. In order to explore this concept of a studio as a work of art it is important to analyze the properties and components of a specific studio.




                       Georgia O’Keefe’s studio – Abiquiu, New Mexico    Jackson Pollock’s studio – East Hampton, New York


Artist Barbara Hepworth’s studio in her home in St. Ives was turned into a museum after the artist’s death. Hepworth and her family departed London in 1939 upon the outbreak of the World War II and settled in the small community of St. Ives in Cornwall. The war encouraged Hepworth to contemplate her place as an artist with new interest because the emotional link between art and society was now imperative. Although reluctant to depart London, Hepworth ultimately appreciated being decentralized. She felt that St. Ives was a much more responsible and encouraging community, stating, “St. Ives is a small place; but the artists and writers here do, I know, think of you and your work each day.”[2] In this aspect, Hepworth’s art becomes informed by the time and place of her environment.
 
Hepworth was influenced by the war and social engagement around her, which led to a new energy in her artwork. Intriguing, this new energy is present within the physical boundaries of Hepworth’s practice. When Hepworth acquired the Trewyn studio and her St. Ives home, the artist expressed, “ It will be a joy to carve in such a perfect place, both serene and secluded ­– the courtyard and garden are protected by tall trees and roof tops so that I can work out of doors most of the year.”[3] In fact, Hepworth’s Trewyn studio provided workshop spaces for stone carving, plasterwork, and outdoor sculpture. These spaces were maintained separately, yet were never in isolation of one another. The stone carving studio and yard acted as the heart of the studio. Whereas, she alternated between spaces for her bronze and plaster work. Additionally, Hepworth acquired the Palais de Danse, a dance studio, across the street from her Trewyn studio in 1960.  She used this space to craft large-scale works. In fact, on a visit to St. Ives in 2011, gallery director Lenore Miller toured this intimate space and viewed several of Hepworth's private works ( a photograph of this special visit is featured on the left). However, as Hepworth stated, she tried to work outside as much as possible in order to be influenced by the natural coastal echoes and images. Therefore, Hepworth’s practice was unlimited, allowing for freedom in her sculptural pieces.




Two Forms (Divided Circle) 1969 in the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden



Hepworth later shared with a friend that she felt as if she’d discovered an easy flow for the first time in her life after working in the Trewyn studio. She continued to work in this environment over a course of twenty-five years, evolving her preexisting practices and artistic flow. Yet, the studio became Hepworth’s final piece of art, which encapsulated the artist’s spirit and process. Upon Hepworth’s death in 1975, her studio was converted into an active museum, which showcases her studio workshops and outdoor sculpture. In a way, the museum acts as a living vestige or self-portrait of Hepworth. Marble dust from her creations continues to permeate the studio space as her tools and chisels lie still next to unfinished works. The garden and yard celebrate the artist’s life as it presents a biography of her work and career. The influence of St. Ives and the environment are evident from these exhibitions and truly show how an artist’s studio and place can inform their work.
 

Barbara Hepworth’s works and sculptural pieces will be on display at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery as a part of Icons of British Sculpture until October 10th.



[1] http://www.art-quotes.com/getquotes.php?catid=292
[2] Curtis, Penelope, and Alan Wilkinson. Barbara Hepworth: A Retrospective. Liverpool: Tate Gallery
     Publications, 1994. Print.
[3] Ibid.

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Washington, District of Columbia, United States
"Found In Collection" or simply "FIC" is the way many museums classify the more mysterious items in their possession that have little or no documentation. Here at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery of the George Washington University, we do keep extensive records of our collection, but some of the items we come across in academic buildings or our own storage can leave us wondering. This blog is an effort to showcase some of the more curious examples and their stories, and to provide a glimpse of the great variety of art pieces within the collection. To learn more about the Brady Gallery's history, recent exhibitions, or the George Washington University, take a look at the links below.

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