Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life and work of English sculptor Barbara Hepworth (1903 – 1975).
She was one of the few female artists of her generation to achieve international fame, and was named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1965 for her invaluable contribution to British art.
Her work exemplifies the story of British Modernism: according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, she produced some of the earliest abstract sculptures in England.
She was concerned with form and abstraction and practised “direct carving”, a technique by which the sculpting process is influenced by the qualities of the raw materials, rather than by a carefully worked out preliminary model
It is on this day in 1939 that she arrived in St. Ives (Cornwall), a town on Britain’s southwest coast, which remained her home for their rest of her life.
In 1949 she bought Trewyn Studio where she produced most of her best-known works. She found it really inspirational and said that “finding Trewyn Studio was sort of magic. Here was a studio, a yard, and garden where I could work in open air and space.”
Her name is still intertwined with the history and culture of St Ives, where her studio and Sculpture Garden are the destination of numerous visits by tourists and artists.
St. Ives became refuge for many artists during the war and a colony for a lot of younger British artists whose paintings and sculptures were inspired by this small fishing town.
And it was in St. Ives, in her beloved studio-home, that Barbara Hepworth was burnt to death, in 1975, at the age of 73, in an accidental fire, which is believed to have been caused by a cigarette that set her bedclothes on fire.