Barbara Hepworth came to know the surgeon Norman Capener after one of her children had an operation on her thigh in 1943. At his invitation she witnessed a number of operations in Exeter and London, making sketches which she later used as the basis for oil and pencil drawings. The work of the surgical teams represented for her a harmonious interaction that she sought to convey in her abstract compositions. ‘I became completely absorbed by two things: first, the co-ordination between human beings all dedicated to the saving of a life, and the way that unity of idea and purpose dictated a perfection of concentration, movement and gesture, and secondly by the way this special grace induces a spontaneous space composition, an articulated and animated kind of abstract sculpture very close to what I had been seeking in my own work.’


  • Title: Reconstruction
  • Creator: Barbara Hepworth
  • Date Created: 1947
  • Physical Dimensions: 34.3 x 46.4cm
  • Rights: Bowness, Hepworth Estate
  • Medium: Oil and pencil on board

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