Pierced Monolith with Color

Pierced Monolith with Colour, 1965
Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975)

Barbara Hepworth made Pierced Monolith with Colour from a Roman stone slab and added blue and black pigment to its surfaces. The piece is reminiscent of prehistoric monoliths in Britain, such as those at Stonehenge.

Hepworth, possibly one of Britain’s most important figures in the development of abstract sculpture, was born in West Riding in Yorkshire, England. She trained at the Leeds School of Art, where she befriended sculptor Henry Moore, before attending the Royal College of Art. Originally creating figurative sculptures, Hepworth by the 1930s was increasingly attracted to abstract forms, which dominated her work for the remainder of her career. She was fascinated by the interactions of people with their surrounding landscapes, and by the 1940s her sculpture had grown more monolithic. She began to create upright pieces whose masses were often disrupted by pierced and colored shapes.

Pierced Monolith with Color (1965) was designed for her own sculpture garden and carved at her studio in St Ives. It closely follows Single Form (1964), a work she created for the United Nations building in New York City that revisited her pierced pieces from the 1940s. Pierced Monolith was still in Hepworth’s sculpture garden at the time of her death, in 1975.

Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975)
Pierced Monolith with Colour, 1965
Roman stone and paint
Foundation purchase, gift of Barbro and Bernard A. Osher
2003.110

Listen to Emma Acker, Assistant Curator of American Art, provide her perspective on Barbara Hepworth’s Pierced Monolith with Colour.

 
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