London – Barbara Hepworth’s Three Oblique Forms (Walk In) (1968, estimate: £6,000,000-9,000,000) will lead Christie’s Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale on 18 October 2023. Three Oblique Forms (Walk In), standing at almost three metres in height, is one of a rare and highly important group of monumental sculptures that were created by Barbara Hepworth in the 1960s. The works were intended to be set in open-air surroundings and invoke a new understanding of landscape. Three Oblique Forms (Walk In) is on view in the garden setting of St James’s Square, adjacent to Christie’s headquarters on London’s King Street, until 18 October, a unique opportunity to enjoy the work in a public outdoor space accessible to all.
Angus Granlund, Head of The Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale, Christie’s: “Barbara Hepworth’s exquisite sculpture Three Oblique Forms (Walk In) was created to interact with its surrounding landscape-environment and we are thrilled we can present it as the focal point of our Evening Sale. Displayed in St James’s Square, just a two-minute walk from our Headquarters in London, we are able to honour the artist’s intention and provide a free outdoor exhibition of the work in the lead up to the auction on 18 October.”
Consisting of bold, simple, geometric forms cast in bronze and punctuated with circular apertures in a way that calls to mind the passage of the sun or the moon across the sky or horizon, the vast works in the series were aimed, as the instruction ‘Walk In’ in this sculpture suggests, at inviting the bodily participation of the viewer and a physical interaction with its forms. It was only in the 1960s that Hepworth had achieved both the status and the financial means that would allow the creation of such large-scale, bronze-cast works. Three Oblique Forms (Walk in) is one of the last such examples and exists in an edition of two plus an artist’s cast, of which this is the artist’s cast. The other casts belong to Cardiff University and to a private collector, on public display in Seattle. Created in 1968, Hepworth made Three Oblique Forms (Walk in) specifically for a major exhibition of sculpture in the landscape, which was held at the Hakone Open-Air Museum in Japan in 1970.
Three Oblique Forms (Walk In) is on view in St James’s Square alongside Lynn Chadwick’s Walking Woman (1984, estimate: £700,000-1,000,000), a further highlight from Christie’s Modern British and Irish Art Evening Sale.