Barbara Hepworth (b. 1903, Yorkshire; d. 1975, St. Ives, Cornwall) was a modernist British sculptor who, over the course of her career, changed her works from simplified naturalistic forms to purely abstract shapes. Hepworth established an enduring commitment to carving wood and stone, and transformed modernist sculpture with her pioneering method of piercing the block. She made her first pierced sculpture in 1932, introducing emptied space as an element in her compositions. As a member of the Abstraction-Création group and with influence from the continental avant-garde,Hepworthmovedaway from representation andshifted from figurative to abstract forms, althoughher works continued to maintain a visual affinity with the human form. Unlike traditional sculptural practices of working with preliminary models or through transitional phases in clay or plaster, direct carving—introduced by Brancusi around 1906 and later adopted by Hepworth—allowed her to explore the innate rhythm of her material.
Hepworth's home and studio have been preserved at the Barbara Hepworth Home and Sculpture Garden, which is run by the Tate. Pace Gallery has represented the Hepworth Estate since 1996.