The Hepworth Wakefield: A Short History 

The Hepworth Wakefield

The Hepworth Wakefield opened in 2011 to house Wakefield's art collection and to continue the ambitious and forward-thinking legacy of Wakefield Art Gallery.

Creating The Hepworth Wakefield
In 1996 Wakefield Council started to promote the benefits of investing in a new gallery as part of a wider investment in culture and regeneration. A RIBA competition was launched to appoint an architect to design a state of the art gallery in Wakefield and through this process David Chipperfield Architects was selected unanimously by the judging panel.

Design development started in 2004 and construction began in 2007 once funding had been secured from Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire Forward, the European Union (ERDF) and the Homes and Communities Agency (formerly English Partnerships).

Simon Wallis OBE was appointed director in 2008 and construction of the gallery was completed in January 2010. Since the gallery opened in 2011 an exciting curatorial and learning programme combining modern and contemporary art has been delivered to a wide audience.

The Hepworth Family Gift
The new gallery was designed to house a major new gift of works from the Hepworth Estate, to be shown in the city where Barbara Hepworth was born and raised. This included an important collection of plasters and prototypes by Hepworth, which reveal new aspects of her work. This rich survey of works are on permanent display at The Hepworth Wakefield, giving valuable insight into her working processes from the 1950s to her death in 1975.   

The Hepworth Family Gift: The Gift to Wakefield

The programme at The Hepworth Wakefield invites contemporary artists to reflect on the legacy of Barbara Hepworth and strives to support female artists in particular.

The inaugural exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield was a solo exhibition of sculpture by female contemporary artist Eva Rothschild: Eva Rothschild: Hot Touch

The following video explores the exhibition further and discusses the challenges of placing artworks in newly built gallery spaces and the influence Barbara Hepworth had on the artist.

Eva Rothschild: Hot Touch 21 MAY - 9 OCTOBER 2011

The Hepworth Wakefield's Fifth Birthday
The Hepworth Wakefield hosted five birthday party's across five days to celebrate entering the fifth year.

Here Frances Quinn - winner of the BBC's The Great British Bake Off, 2015 - presents her David Chipperfield inspired birthday cake conceived specifically for the celebration.

‘One of the most significant and exciting places for the study and display of modern and contemporary sculpture in Europe, and maybe in the world.’ Will Gompertz, Speech at The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture Award Presentation, Nov 2016

In its first five years, The Hepworth Wakefield has established itself as one of the most successful contemporary art museums in the UK. The museum has far exceeded expectations, welcoming 1.65 million visitors and regularly receiving regional, national and international acclaim for its exhibitions and learning programmes.

Credits: Story

The Hepworth Wakefield

For more information visit The Hepworth Wakefield

Exhibit created by
The Hepworth Wakefield

Special thanks to Iheanyichukwu Onwuegbucha

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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