A Nest of Gentle Artists

A Nest of Gentle Artists

A Nest of Gentle Artists – Modernism in Hampstead


Barbara Hepworth, Family Group, 1953, oil and drawing on board, 30 x 22 cm, Tate Gallery, London, UK


Barbara Hepworth, Stringed Figure (Curlew) (Version I), 1956, brass with strings


Barbara Hepworth, Winged Figure, 1963, aluminium, H 580 cm, John Lewis, Hollies Street, London, UK


Barbara Hepworth, Marble Form, 1954, oil and pencil on hardboard, 77 x 50 cm, The Whitworth, Manchester, UK


Barbara Hepworth, Construction (Crucifixion), 1966, Cathedral Cloisters, Salisbury, UK


Naum Gabo, Linear Construction, 1943


Ivon Hitchens, Triangle to Beyond, 1936, oil on canvas and wood, 76 x 51 cm, Tate Gallery, London, UK


Arthur Jackson-Hepworth, Painting 7/35, 1935, oil on canvas, 46 x 36 cm, Private Collection


Piet Mondrian, Composition II, 1920, oil on canvas


Henry Moore, Stringed Figure, 1960, bronze and elastic string, 27 x 34 cm, Tate Gallery, London, UK


Ben Nicholson, First Abstract, 1924, oil and graphite on canvas, Tate Gallery, Saint Ives, UK


Ben Nicholson, Painting 1937, 1937, oil on canvas, 51 x 64, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK


Ben Nicholson, Vertical Seconds, 1953, oil on canvas, 76 x 42 cm, Tate Gallery, London, UK


John Piper, Painting 1935, 1935, oil on canvas


John Piper, Back Gardens, Burgundy, 1958, oil on canvas, 64 x 76 cm


John Skeaping, Fish, 1930, ironstone on serpentine base, 14 x 27 cm, Tate Gallery, London, UK


John Cecil Stephenson, Painting, 1937, tempera on canvas, 71 x 91 cm, Tate Gallery, London, UK

Henry Moore & Barbara Hepworth were at Leeds School of Art then the Royal College of Art, 1920-26, and visited Europe. Hepworth met John Skeaping and they were married in Florence in 1925. They returned to London, and in 1928, moved to 7 The Mall, Parkhill Road, Hampstead, where they were neighbours of Henry and Irena Moore, and where Hepworth remained until 1939.

In June 1928, they shared an exhibition at the Beaux Arts Gallery with John Skeaping and William Morgan. Ben Nicholson  involved in development of Modernist movement in UK, and in 1924 joined, then took over Seven and  Five Society, with Henry Moore.  Later, they were joined by John Piper, renaming the group Seven and Five Abstract Group, in 1935.

In 1931 Hepworth and Skeaping spent a holiday in Norfolk with Henry & Irena Moore, and Ben Nicholson and  Ivon Hitchens, but later separated. The next year Hepworth exhibited  with the Seven and Five Society. She was a member until it was dissolved in 1935.

During the  30s artists  began to flee central Europe.  Many moved to London and settled in Hampstead, including Gropius,  Breuer, Naum Gabo, Moholy-Nagy, Erni, and Ozenfant.

In 1933 Hepworth and Nicholson met Brancusi at his studio in Paris, visited Arp’s studio at Meudon,  and travelled to Avignon and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. On their return to Paris, they visited Picasso. They were Invited by Herbin and Hélion to become a member of the Paris based group Abstraction-Création, with which Hepworth exhibited in 1934. In September of that year, there was a short visit to Dieppe, to see Braque at nearby Varengeville, and in October they shared an exhibition with Ben Nicholson at Alex Reid & Lefevre Ltd, London.

Nicholson and Hepworth met Mondrian in 1935 and Kandinsky. Mondrian joined them in the late 30s, and described them as his best friends. Hepworth’s Construction Crucifixion was a homage to Mondrian

The Abstract & Concrete exhibition opened in Oxford in February, 1936, and included work by Mondrian, Kandinsky, Arp, Giacometti, Miró, Calder, Moholy-Nagy, Hélion, Nicholson, Hepworth, Moore and Gabo.  Hepworth and Nicholson met Arp in London on the occasion of the International Surrealist exhibition.

TB, 6 March 2018, Meeting No 12


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