Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth to go head to head at The Hepworth Wakefield

By Sarah Jackson | 26 November 2013

The Hepworth Wakefield have made it easier than ever for visitors to see two Yorkshire greats in one day

Abstract sculpture by Barbara Hepworth in mother and child motif.
Barbara Hepworth, Mother and Child (1934)© Bowness, Hepworth Estate. Photo: Jonty Wilde
For the first time, visitors to The Hepworth Wakefield will be able to see the work of two of Yorkshire’s greatest artists as they go ‘head-to-head’.

If that sounds rather combative, Frances Guy, the venue's Head of Collections and Exhibitions, believes that it will reveal how the two artists’ work complimented and differed from each other.

“It’s fascinating to show the work of Moore and Hepworth side by side and invite visitors to see for themselves the similarities and contrasts between these peers, encapsulated in two of their most popular themes," she says.

Henry Moore: Reclining Figures follows Moore’s career across five decades, focusing on a theme that was the artist’s obsession. The display will feature two sculptures from the Wakefield Collection, as well as a group of small-scale maquettes and a monumental bronze sculpture on loan from The Henry Moore Foundation.

Moore’s work always cries out to be touched, and The Hepworth is offering a rare chance to get hands on with the bronze Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 4. Visitors can don protective gloves in order to touch the textured surface.

Coinciding with this exhibition, Working Model for Draped Reclining Figure (1979) will open at the new Castleford Forum also in Wakefield.

In contrast to Moore’s monumental works, Barbara Hepworth: Two Forms is a more intimate display. The ‘mother and child’ motif that is integral to Hepworth’s work unites a group of sculptures that trace the shift from her earlier figurative works to the abstract.

The much loved Mother and Child (1934) will be back on display, alongside key loans of Hepworth’s work from the Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, Orkney and several private collections.

Unfortunately, many early sculptures that would have been relevant to this display were lost or destroyed in the Second World War. Luckily, an outstanding series of photographs taken by Hepworth and photographers William Darby and Paul Laib from 1932-1937 have captured this period. These will be displayed alongside Hepworth’s sculptures to document those critical years.

  • Open 10am-5pm Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday). Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @HepworthGallery.

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A bronze statue by Henry Moore is observed by a man in the background.
Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield takes a first look at the new Henry Moore Reclining Figures exhibition.© Courtesy The Hepworth Wakefield. Photo: Hannah Webster
Follow Sarah Jackson on Twitter @SazzyJackson.

Who is your Yorkshire Great, Hepworth or Moore? Or is it too close to call? Leave a comment below and tell us.

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