Pencil on card stock with a prepared white oil ground, 1947. 355x457 mm; 14x18 inches. Signed and dated in pencil, lower right recto.
Ex-collection Joan and Lester Avnet, New York; The Piccadilly Gallery, London, with the label; acquired from the above by private collection, Philadelphia; thence by descent to the current owner; private collection, New York.
Hepworth (1903-1975) was born in Yorkshire and enjoyed an early exposure to construction, often accompanying her father to his job as a civil engineer. She studied sculpture at Leeds School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London alongside Henry Moore (1898-1986) and after graduating, studied in Rome. Hepworth showed with the Seven and Five Society from 1932 until the group's dissolution in 1935. This London group originally formed with the intention of returning to tradition after World War I though Modernists, like Hepworth, Moore, and Ben Nicholson (1894-1982, see lots 316-319) transformed its mission into promoting abstraction. Hepworth became known for her primitive method of Direct Carving, resulting in harmonious smooth forms that have an unspoken intimacy with each other and the environment around them.
By 1947, Hepworth had already gained international recognition as a sculptor when she produced a series of hospital vignettes while her daughter was ill. During this time, the artist rendered surgeons in operating theaters based on her observations. She was profoundly impacted by the purposeful choreography of the operating room staff, the same characteristic she sought in her own abstract sculptures. She found common ground between artists and doctors as they both have a purpose 'to restore and to maintain the beauty and grace of the human mind and body.'