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Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)
Study for Lisa (Hands to Face), 1949

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Study for Lisa (Hands to Face) was executed in 1949, the year that Hepworth bought Trewyn Studios (now the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden) in St Ives, where she lived permanently from December 1950 until her death. The model is a local Cornish girl, Lisa, who sat for several other related drawings.
Hepworth’s technique of drawing over a painted base which had been scraped or rubbed down in places was also shared by her husband, Ben Nicholson. The resulting work gives the impression of spatial depth while conveying the composition through a precise line drawing. Although Study for Lisa (Hands to Face) is a figurative work it relates closely to Hepworth’s sculptures and abstract drawings through the sense of rhythm and curved shapes described by the pencil line.

Image: Dame Barbara Hepworth, Study for Lisa (Hands to Face) 1949, Jerwood Collection © Bowness


pencil and oil on board


45.7 x 25.4 cm


The artist.
Mr and Mrs F.E. Halliday.
Private Collection, U.K.
Offer Waterman & Co, from where purchased, April 2015.


London, Lefevre Gallery, New Sculpture and Drawings by Barbara Hepworth, February 1950, no. 41.
Venice, XXV Biennale, British Pavilion, An Exhibition of Works by John Constable, Matthew Smith and Barbara Hepworth, British Council, Summer 1950, no. 119.
Wakefield, City Art Gallery, Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture and Drawings, Festival of Britain, May - July 1951, no. 90: this exhibition toured to York, City Art Gallery, July - August 1951; Manchester, City Art Gallery, September - October 1951.
London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Barbara Hepworth, Retrospective Exhibition 1927-1954, April - June 1954, no. 129.
St Ives, Parish Church, Exhibition on the Occasion of the Conferment of the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of St Ives on Bernard Leach and Barbara Hepworth, September - October 1968.
Plymouth, City Art Gallery, Barbara Hepworth, June - August 1970, no. 69.
Hastings, Jerwood Gallery, Horizons: Kettle's Yard at Jerwood Gallery, September 2015 - January 2016.
London, Business Design Centre, London Art Fair, Coast, January 2016.
Hastings, Jerwood Gallery, Coast, April - July 2016.

Barbara Hepworth was born in Wakefield in 1903 and studied at Leeds School of Art (1920-21) and the Royal College of Art, London (1921-24). She married the sculptor, John Skeaping, in Italy (1925) where they were both studying carving. Hepworth’s marriage to Skeaping ended after she had met Ben Nicholson on holiday in 1931. She married Nicholson in 1938 and together they travelled extensively in Europe meeting leading figures of the continental avant garde including Brancusi, Mondrian and Picasso. 
At the outbreak of the Second World War Hepworth and Nicholson moved their family to St Ives where they became key figures of the artistic community. Hepworth continued to exhibit internationally and in 1959 her reputation was cemented when she was awarded the Grand Prix at The Bienal de São Paulo in 1959. She was also awarded the CBE (1958) and DBE (1965). 
In 1949 she bought Trewyn Studios where she continued to live after her divorce from Nicholson (1951). From this St Ives base, (now the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden) Hepworth sculpted and planned her monumental public works for over a quarter of a century until her death in 1975.