Four-Square (Four Circles), 1966
Signed, dated, numbered and stamped with foundry mark on base 'Barbara Hepworth 1966. 2/7. Morris Singer Founders London Cire Perdue'
Bronze with brown and green patina. Conceived and cast in 1966 in an edition of 7 plus 1 artist's proof at the Morris Singer Foundry, London.
23 5/8 x 14 1/8 x 11 3/4 in, 60 x 36 x 30 cm
'Four-Square (Four Circles)' is one of three maquettes created by Hepworth for the monumental work 'Four-Square (Walk Through)', also realised in an edition of three, with examples at Barbara Hepworth...
'Four-Square (Four Circles)' is one of three maquettes created by Hepworth for the monumental work 'Four-Square (Walk Through)', also realised in an edition of three, with examples at Barbara Hepworth Museum, St Ives; Churchill College, Cambridge and Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena. Although on a much smaller scale, 'Four-Square (Four Circles)' has all the gravitas - that Hepworth is lauded for - of its walk through counterpart.
Hepworth described how she “wanted to involve people, make them reach the surfaces and the size, finding out which spiral goes which way, realising the differences between the parts” in 'Four-Square (Walk Through)'. Physicality was integral to Hepworth’s practice and her works are born from an understanding of the plasticity of space. In the 1960s she explored this through experimenting with the relationship between circles and rectangles. In 'Four-Square (Four Circles)' Hepworth’s mastery of abstraction is a constant balancing act between space and mass, with every position and angle showing a different side to the co-existing shapes.
Hepworth found that these immense ‘free forms’ were only possible in bronze and could not be created in her traditional materials of clay, wood or stone. This new practice meant casting bronzes from carved plaster and abandoning modelling in clay, a medium Hepworth had been trained in as a student at the Royal College of Art. “I only learned to love bronze”, she wrote to her husband Ben Nicholson in 1966, “when I found that it was gentle and I could file it and carve it and chisel it. Each one is a "person" to me - as much as a marble”.
Despite her diagnosis with cancer a year earlier in 1965, Hepworth continued to make significant works that confirmed her position as one of the most important female artists of the 20th century. In 1968 she was given a major retrospective at the Tate Gallery, London and received the Grand Prix at the Salon International de la Femme, Nice in 1970.
Gimpel-Weitzenhoffer, New York
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above May 1969)
Christie's, New York, 12 November 2018, lot 310 (sold by the family of the above)
A. Bowness, ed., The Complete Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth, 1960-1969, London, 1971, p.43, no.428 (another cast illus.)