Prized sculpture removed from Hatfield building now on display at new museum exhibition
- Credit: Supplied by St Albans Museums/UH
A prized sculpture removed from a Hatfield building is now taking pride of place in a new exhibition celebrating one of the country’s most celebrated 20th century artists.
Barbara Hepworth’s Vertical Forms was commissioned in 1951 for the principal façade of the then new Hatfield Technical College, now the University of Hertfordshire.
The limestone carving, one of the Hatfield university’s most prized artworks, was painstakingly removed from the College Lane Campus building and conserved by specialist stone specialists and art technicians last month.
The sculpture, which depicts three standing, interlocking abstract figures, is now on display at the St Albans Museum + Gallery as part of the Barbara Hepworth: Artist in Society 1948-53 exhibition, which runs until September 8.
Barbara Hepworth: Artist in Society 1948-53 is a poignant exhibition exploring a short but significant period of the artist’s life.
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The exhibition is curated by Dr Sophie Bowness and UHArts’ Annabel Lucas, and it reunites sculptures and drawings that have not been seen together since they were made by Hepworth just after the Second World War.
Following the free exhibition, Vertical Forms will be re-sited at the University of Hertfordshire in a protected, prominent site in order to prevent further weathering of the carved detail, and to ensure its preservation for the future.
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Annabel Lucas, head of UHArts at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “The university is privileged to have such a remarkable sculpture by Barbara Hepworth in our collection, and as a treasured piece we are committed to its long-term preservation, recognition and celebration.
“The six-month exhibition in St Albans gives us a rare opportunity to consider our sculpture and 19 other drawings and sculptures by Hepworth, to shed light on this short but significant period in her career and her little known connection with Hertfordshire.”
• For more on the Barbara Hepworth exhibition, visit www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk