Barbara Hepworth was born in Wakefield on 10 January 1903. Her father, Herbert Hepworth, became Assistant County Surveyor and an Alderman of the City.
She trained in sculpture at Leeds School of Art (1920-1) and then at the Royal College of Art (1921-4).
Along with Henry Moore and Ben Nicholson (whom she married), she was at the centre of a group of artists who created a revolutionary new approach to European abstract sculpture in the 1930s.
Her use of abstract, negative space, epitomised by her 1937 alabaster work Pierced Hemisphere, in which a hole was carved through the centre of the sculpture inaugurated one of the most important formal features of her, and also Henry Moore's subsequent, work.
Not only was she pioneering work in sculpture but she was also experimenting with collage, photograms and prints.
During the Second World War she evacuated to St. Ives in Cornwall where she set up a studio forming a focus in 1949 for the establishment of the Penwith Society of Artists with Nicholson, Peter Lanyon and others, and helping to attract international attention to the group's exhibitions.
Barbara Hepworth received numerous public commissions, (in 1964, Single Form was erected outside the United Nations building, New York as a memorial to the Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld), and awards throughout her career (including the Grand Prix at the São Paulo Bienal in 1959).
She became a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1965.
After a long battle with cancer, she died in a fire at her St Ives home on 20 May 1975. The studio was subsequently designated the Barbara Hepworth Museum in the following year and come under the control of the Tate Gallery in 1980.
Wakefield Art Gallery has a number of Hepworth’s works in the permanent collections including Kneeling Figure, 1932 and Mother and Child, 1934.
Three figures from the Family of Man series are sited in Castrop Rauxel Square - opposite Wakefield’s County Hall where Hepworth’s father had worked.
At the centre of The Hepworth, Wakefield will fittingly be the unique collection of 30 original plasters used by Barbara Hepworth when casting her bronze sculptures and donated by the Hepworth family trust.
The Hepworth, Wakefield will replace the existing Art Gallery at Wentworth Terrace (which closed in March 2009) and the works by Barbara Hepworth currently at the Art Gallery will transfer to The Hepworth, Wakefield along with the Gallery's excellent collections of paintings, sculpture, drawings and decorative art.