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07 May 2020“Radicals and Rivals”: How Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson changed art in Britain

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“Radicals and Rivals”:
How Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and
Ben Nicholson changed art in Britain
Jo Walton Thursday 07 May 2020

 

Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson are three of the most important British artists of the last century. Friends, neighbours and artistic rivals, their lives were intertwined through their personal relationships as well as through their shared determination to make new and radical forms of art in mid-twentieth century Britain.

 

In this study day we will look at the background to their emergence as dynamic artists fascinated by the cutting-edge ideas of European artists such as Picasso, Brancusi and Mondrian. We’ll see how, in the staid British art world of the 1930s, their use of new materials and techniques injected a truly modern dimension into both painting and sculpture, complimenting that of modernist architects and designers. We’ll see how they coped with the challenges of making art during times of war and in the rebuilding and regeneration that followed.

 

The complex relationships between them – with Barbara Hepworth being both friend and rival to Moore, as well as lover, wife and rival to Nicholson – make this a personal and compelling story. As each of the trio achieved international stardom in the 1950s, drawing younger artists into their orbits as helpers, students and assistants, we’ll explore the different paths they took in dealing with wealth, influence and success in the international art world of the later twentieth century.

 

Jo Walton read art history at Leicester University, then went on to do a post-graduate diploma in Oxford, specialising in the art and architecture of fifteenth century Italy. She has combined teaching and lecturing with a career in art bookselling and has been a volunteer guide at both Tate Britain and Tate Modern; she is also a freelance lecturer for the Arts Society and the Arts Fund as well as local groups and societies.

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