A world-class gallery to house Wakefield’s important collection of contemporary art and celebrate the legacy of pioneering sculptor Barbara Hepworth, who was born in the city
Barbara Hepworth was one of the 20th century’s most influential artists and a pioneer for women in the creative fields.
But the sculptor never forgot her roots in Wakefield, Yorkshire, and the city’s gallery was an early champion of her work, collecting pieces by Hepworth and fellow local Henry Moore.
The Hepworth opened in May 2011 as a new, purpose-built home for Wakefield’s important contemporary art collection and a celebration of the career of its namesake.
The local council had dreamed of creating this world-class venue for 15 years, but major funding from the National Lottery allowed the building to finally become a reality.
The results have been more than worth the wait.
The Hepworth reached its initial annual visitor target of 150,000 within the first five weeks and has built a reputation for excellence and innovation over the last eight years.
Anyone can enjoy its 1,600 square metres of gallery space for free, with permanent exhibitions of the Wakefield’s 5,000-piece art collection and a unique selection of Barbara Hepworth’s prototypes and work tools, donated by her family.
There are also temporary exhibitions of international importance, with regular schools and family events, talks and art fairs.
In 2015, it launched the biennial Hepworth Prize for Sculpture and the following year, retired BBC news writer and amateur art collector Tim Sayer bequeathed 400 artworks to The Hepworth.
The gift includes pieces by David Hockney and Bridget Riley.
The gallery brings significant tourism to this part of Yorkshire while the building itself has been recognised for its modern, brutalist design.
In 2017, The Hepworth won the prestigious title of Art Fund Museum of the Year, with the judges describing it as “the museum everyone would dream of having on their doorstep”.
To find out more about The Hepworth visit the website https://hepworthwakefield.org/
The Hepworth Wakefield
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