New Year 2017 at the Hepworth

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The first day of 2017 we drove over the Pennines to Wakefield to visit the Hepworth, just as we’ve done on New Year’s day for the past few years. It was a while since we’d last been over to the Hepworth and there had been a few changes.

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In Gallery 1, there was an exhibition – A Contemporary Collectionfeaturing a sample of works from the Wakefield Permanent Art Collection.

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The collection was founded in 1923, and housed in Wakefield Art Gallery from 1932. The Hepworth website tells us that

Wakefield Councilman Alfred Carr stated that the purpose of the collection was ‘to keep in touch with modern art, in its relations to modern life’. In its first decades, the collection acquired works of art by important British artists of the early twentieth century who had championed art as a reflection of contemporary experience.

A very enlightened approach which allowed the Borough to accumulate an excellent collection of Modern and Contemporary art.

Some of the works on display in the exhibition included Construction in Space with Rose Marble Carviing (Variation 2)  1969 by Naum Gabo

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and paintings by John Piper (Entrance to Fonthill)

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Roger Fry –  Boats in Harbour (1915)

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and Ben Nicholson –  1933 Piquet (1933) which is similar to a painting owned by Manchester City Art Gallery

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I liked this painting, Painting 22.3.1969 (1960) by an artist, John Hoyland, I’ve not come across before. Always good to make a discovery!

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I also liked a couple of paintings of Cornish tin miners by Graham Sutherland done during his time as a War Artist. Quite similar to the pictures by Henry Moore of coal miners and people sheltering in the Underground during the Blitz and very different than the Surrealist paintings usually associated with the artist. Unfortunately they were displayed by a reflective glass that made it impossible to take a half decent photo. (There’s an example of one of his tine miner works here.)

Gallery 2 was still showing works on loan from Kettle’s Yard that we’d seen during our visit in June.

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 Gallery 3 was also still featuring works from the Cambridge gallery but since June the exhibition had been “reimagined” by by 2016 Turner Prize nominee, Anthea Hamilton,

an artist renowned for her art-pop, culture-inspired sculptures and installations that incorporate references from the worlds of art, fashion, design and cinema.

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The combination of old and new works, reorganised and displayed imaginatively made for a very interesting and enjoyable exhibition

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The main exhibition was devoted to the Hepworth Sculpture Prize. There was a room devoted to each of the four shortlisted artists Phyllida Barlow, Steven Claydon, Helen Marten and David Medalla. Again I hadn’t been sure what to expect but found the exhibition very interesting. There was quite a lot to see and it deserves it’s own post, I think.

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3 thoughts on “New Year 2017 at the Hepworth

  1. What a fascinating and diverse collection. The Christmas tree decorations are entirely appropriate for a modern art gallery. The building itself is a beautiful piece of architecture, too.

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