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Rijksmuseum | Barbara Hepworth

This summer the sculptures of the major British artist Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975) will grace the open gardens of the Rijksmuseum. It is her first solo exhibition in Amsterdam. The nine works show the artist at the peak of her powers. Most of the sculptures come from English public gardens and parks, and are rarely moved from their permanent location. Hepworth’s geometric Construction (Crucifixion) from the cloister garden of Salisbury Cathedral references the visual idiom of Hepworth’s friend Piet Mondrian, and thereby also her special relationship with the Netherlands. Barbara Hepworth in the Rijksmuseum Gardens presents an overview of the artist’s monumental later works from the 1960s and early 1970s. These include Monolith (Empyrean), the exhibition’s earliest work – which Hepworth made in 1953-1954 and usually stands in the gardens of Kenwood House (Hampstead Heath) – and the figures from the 1970 The Family of Man group, which comes from Britten Pears Arts, the cultural centre in Snape Maltings (Suffolk). The exhibition also includes work from private collections such as Hepworth’s last major multi-part sculpture Conversation with Magic Stones (1973). The Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands is lending the 1963 work Squares with Two Circles for the exhibition.

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