Return to the Hepworth

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On Saturday we paid a visit to the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. Thos time we were accompanied y our friend, Jean who’d never been before. Approaching the gallery in the car, which involves an unusual manoeuvre, driving past the gallery and then doubling back on yourself, Jean commented “what an ugly building” – not a good start as I wondered what she was going to make of the exhibits which included a major exhibition by the Austrian avant garde artist Franz West (more about that in another post). The building does seem to be rather like Marmite – you either love it or hate it – I’m in the former camp.

One of the current exhibitions, in the smaller gallery, Making a Modern Collection, celebrated the Wakefield Council’s art collection

The collection was founded in 1923 and began to develop with the help of Ernest Musgrave, the first director of Wakefield Art Gallery, and his forward-thinking collecting policy. Musgrave’s successors continued to expand the collection, which now has over 5,000 works, with the support of many organisations and individuals. (source)

The exhibition had only a small selection from the collection, but what a selection. It included works by Barbara Hepworth

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Two forms (1937)

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Forms, (brown, grey and white) (1941)

Ben Nicholson

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May 1954 (Delos) (1954)

Patrick Heron

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June Horizons 1957 (1957)

Henry Moore, including one of his drawings of miners

Henry Moore Pit Boys

This interesting sculpture by Kenneth Armitage

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Girl without a face (version 2) (1982)

A painting by L S Lowry

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A nude by Euan Uglow

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Gyroscope Nude (1967)

I liked this painting of  Yorkshire Landscape (1937) by Francis Butterfield

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The exhibition once again demonstrated that the Council in Wakefield have had an enlightened attitude to art and culture for many years – continuing right up to today as the establishment of the Hepworth Gallery demonstrates. So again I came away feeling disappointed that my home town, with similar working class demographic and links with mining and Rugby League, is such a cultural black hole.

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