Contrapuntal Forms goes on loan to Hepworth Wakefield


Harlow, Essex, 11th May 2021: Harlow Art Trust today announced Barbara Hepworth’s Contrapuntal Forms sculpture will be included in the most expansive exhibition of the artist’s work in more than 45 years. Barbara Hepworth is considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century. The piece not only was her first public commission but also the first sculpture in Harlow’s collection.

The 10-foot tall, 3-tonne sculpture was safely removed from Glebelands yesterday by specialist art technicians.

While in Wakefield, the sculpture will also undergo important restoration work before its display and return to Harlow next year. “We are thrilled to share the work of such a prestigious artist with more people. That said, the Trust did not take the loan decision lightly and residents were consulted, planning permission received, and legal agreements are in place,” said Chris Snow, Chair of Harlow Art Trust.

Eleanor Clayton, curator at The Hepworth Wakefield shared, “We are delighted we will be able to display Contrapuntal Forms in our exhibition. Hepworth was obsessed with the physical encounter with sculpture, how it could impact the viewer and alter their perception of the world. We appreciate the impact her work has had on residents and visitors of Harlow since 1951 and cherish the opportunity to share this exceptional work with a wider audience.”

The piece will be displayed in The Hepworth Wakefield Garden as part of the ‘Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life’ exhibition celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the gallery from 21 May until 27 February 2022 before being returned to Harlow.

In addition, the Trust is in active conversation to bring a new work to Harlow for the duration of the loan of Contrapuntal Forms. The sculpture will be by a leading contemporary sculptor influenced by Barbara Hepworth. “The loan brings a unique opportunity to bring a new piece of art for residents to experience and we look forward to engaging the community in the process in early summer,” says Artistic Director Kate Harding.

About The Hepworth Wakefield

Designed by the acclaimed David Chipperfield Architects, The Hepworth Wakefield is set within Wakefield’s historic waterfront, overlooking the River Calder. The gallery opened in May 2011 and was awarded Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017. Named after Barbara Hepworth, one of the most important artists of the 20th century who was born and brought up in Wakefield, the gallery presents major exhibitions of the best international modern and contemporary art. It is also home to Wakefield’s art collection – an impressive compendium of modern British and contemporary art – and has dedicated galleries exploring Hepworth’s art and working process. The Hepworth Wakefield Garden, designed by internationally renowned landscaped architect Tom Stuart-Smith, opened alongside the gallery in 2019 and is free for all to enjoy. 

Photo Nina Preece