As regular readers will know, Jacquetta Hawkes was inspired by the work of modern artists and sculptors, particularly Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. Spring 2011 has seen celebrations of Hepworth and Moore in their native West Yorkshire:
- The Hepworth Wakefield is a new art gallery on a riverside location in Wakefield. It opens on 21 May 2011.
- The Leeds Art Gallery is showing the recent Henry Moore exhibition from the Tate, which took a new look at the darkness in his work. Finishes 12 June.
- Moore/Hepworth Conference, 3 and 4 June, “critically examines the relationships between Moore and Hepworth in the county of their birth. It aims to explore the specificity of place, re-examining the imagery of landscape …” Dr Christine Finn, Jacquetta’s biographer, will discuss Figures in a Landscape, Jacquetta’s film which sets Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture in a poetic landscape.
Jacquetta Hawkes and J.B. Priestley on boat while visiting Japan, 1952
Today John Brooker (my Assistant) and I set up the Celebrating Jacquetta Hawkes exhibition at the Manor House Museum in Ilkley. This exhibition uses treasures from the Jacquetta Hawkes Archive to tell her fascinating story, and will be on show throughout the Ilkley Literature Festival until 31 October. The Festival programme includes a private view of the exhibition, and two talks by Jacquetta’s biographer Dr Christine Finn.
The exhibition concentrates on the years around Jacquetta’s masterpiece A Land, complementing the two talks. It includes the script for her film about Barbara Hepworth, her links with Henry Moore, her work on the Festival of Britain, and the typescript and published version of her greatest poem, Man in Time. There is also a gallery of photographs of Jacquetta in the 1940s and 1950s, in a chic 40s suit, some stunning New Look dresses, and even a kimono.
Part of the Jacquetta Hawkes exhibition, showing ammonites and Henry Moore illustrations for A Land
A collection of rarely-seen archive BBC programmes about Henry Moore is now available online, to complement the Tate Britain retrospective. The programmes include innovative documentaries by John Read, Monitor with Huw Wheldon, and a view of Moore’s 1972 Venice exhibition. The Read documentaries in particular help the viewer understand Moore’s working methods and how he developed individual works such as his Festival of Britain sculpture. There is also great emphasis on the inspiration of landscape, which is where Moore’s work meets Jacquetta’s ideas, to stunning visual effect in “A Land”.
A new exhibition at Tate Britain takes a fresh look at sculptor Henry Moore, whose work has perhaps become over-familiar through its ubiquity in public spaces. The exhibition, which opens on 24 February, brings the sculptures to new indoor settings, and finds a darker side: “The trauma of war, the advent of psychoanalysis, new ideas of sexuality, primitive art and surrealism all had an influence on Moore’s work”.
A Land, by Jacquetta Hawkes
Jacquetta Hawkes greatly admired Moore’s work, particularly his feeling for the individual qualities of the stones he used. In her best-known book, A Land (1951), she praises his “understanding of the personality of stones, allowing their individual qualities to contribute to his conception”. She compares the way he uses the echoes of past creatures and climates (a fossil squid in the thigh of one of his figures, the two colours of Hornton stone) with the way a poet may “take fragments and echoes from other earlier poets to sink them in his own poems”. Moore contributed remarkable colour drawings to the book. Our Writer Fellow, Christine Finn, studied Jacquetta’s ideas about stone and sculpture and her links with Moore and other sculptors in an exhibition at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds in 2004, Partners in Stone.
The Hawkes Archive contains several social letters and postcards from Henry and Irina Moore, about birthday parties, music events, travels in stone, and tennis!