By G M Butcher
7 June 1961: The artist’s work has not been received with the critical acclaim it would seem to merit
In her book “Carvings and Drawings,” Barbara Hepworth wrote: “I have never understood why the word feminine is considered to be a compliment to one’s sex if one is a woman, but has a derogatory meaning when applied to anything else.” And so it is, illogical. Perhaps it would be better to think of the “female” dimension in her forms. She has explained very well that there is a whole range of form experience belonging only to the woman, that the sensation of being a woman is not a matter of observation but of feeling, and that the logic of the growth of form, for a woman, is something distinct and valuable. This acceptance of the inevitable as a point of departure is one of the strengths of her sculpture. So much is this so that the issue of femininity, in any derogatory sense, just does not arise.
Her new exhibition at Gimpel Fils (50 South Molton Street, London W1) is her first here since 1958. Partly because her general style has remained relatively constant for several decades, her work has not been received with the critical acclaim it would seem to merit. It is a little ironical that, as with so many British artists of the first rank, her reputation abroad continues to soar at the very moment that her compatriots begin to hear a buzz of hesitation.