Today’s Google Doodle honours the life and work of celebrated English sculptor Barbara Hepworth.

Born in 1903, Hepworth went on to become widely considered as one of the mid-20th century’s most impactful artists.

Following decades of achievement, she tragically died in 1975 at the age of 72 when a fire broke out at her studio in St Ives, Cornwall.

So, here’s a look back at her life:

Hepworth created hundreds of sculptures during a career that spanned five decades (Getty Images)

Who was Barbara Hepworth?

Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth was born on January 10, 1903, in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

From an early age, she was set upon becoming a sculptor and enrolled at the Leeds School of Art from 1920-1921 before later studying at the Royal College of Art, in London.


Her earlier work featured naturalistic, classic elements, but over time evolved towards the production of more abstract shapes.

From 1924-1926, Hepworth spent two years in Italy and in 1925 married her first husband, fellow artist John Skeaping.

The pair later separated and from 1932 onwards, Hepworth lived with the painter Ben Nicholson. The pair spent period of time travelling throughout Europe, when Hepworth met artists including Georges Braque and Piet Mondrian, and visited the studios of Picasso, Constantin Brancusi, and Jean Arp.

Hepworth and Nicholson’s travels and work saw them go on to become key figures in an international network of abstract artists, with the former developing into a leading practitioner of the avant-garde method of “Direct Carving”, a technique which sees artists work directly in to their chosen material and avoid the more traditional method of creating preparatory models and maquettes first.

In 1939, at the outbreak of the Second World War, Hepworth and Nicholson moved to St Ives, in Cornwall.

Hepworth created her studio in the seaside town and would live in the area for the remainder of her life, with her and Nicholson becoming something of a hub for a generation of younger emerging British artists in the post-war years.

Overall, Hepworth created hundreds of sculptures during a career that spanned five decades.

Among her many achievements, Hepworth was awarded the first prize at the 1959 São Paulo Bienal, in Brazil, and for her invaluable contribution to British art was named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1965.

Sadly, on May 20, 1975, Hepworth passed away when an accidental fire broke out at her Trewyn studio.

Today, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden created in her honour continues to draw fans and aspiring artists to St Ives.

“Though concerned with form and abstraction, Hepworth’s art was primarily about relationships: not merely between two forms presented side-by-side, but between the human figure and the landscape, colour and texture, and most importantly between people at an individual and social level,” notes the Tate, which operates the museum and garden.

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