BARBARA HEPWORTH (1903 – 1975)
Forms in Movement (Galliard)
copper, brass, wood
Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture Forms in Movement (Galliard) was the first artwork in the collection of the Wairarapa Arts Centre (now Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art & History). In 1963, six years before the opening of the art gallery, a group of citizens led by Mr W. D. McFee had an option to purchase the sculpture for 475 guineas (or £500). Mr Donald Thompson persuaded the public of Masterton that this was an ideal object, at a good price, to stimulate public interest in the arts. A fundraising appeal generated half the funds, and the Maunsell family, owners of the Hansells factory, contributed the balance. The purchase was not without controversy, and a lively correspondence ensued on the editorial pages of the Wairarapa Times Age.
Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903 – 1975) was born in Yorkshire, England. One of the most innovative and influential sculptors in 20thC Britain, her work is often linked with that of Henry Moore. Her development of a language of elemental abstract forms reflected her love of the natural landscape. She worked in wood and stone exploring the inside and outside of forms, the counterpoint between mass and space. Galliard, a work from 1956, was created in response to Elizabethan music (a Galliard is a ‘spirited dance for two in triple time’) and was a first experimentation with working in metal. Hepworth later became internationally known for her work in bronze, including many monumental abstract sculptures as public commissions.
The Masterton community purchase was the first of Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures to be held in a public collection in New Zealand. In 1965 an anonymous donor presented Torso II to Auckland City Art Gallery, and the National Gallery (now part of Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand) purchased Oval Form (Trezion) in 1984. The aim of the Masterton purchasers was to establish an international standard for the new Arts Centre, to give it a focus that was not provincial or regional in its outlook, but national and international. The sculpture has a special place in the collection as a symbol of the vision and forethought that contributed to the establishment of the original Wairarapa Arts Centre.