Two sculptures by noted English sculptor Barbara Hepworth is being sold by her old school as rocketing costs of insurance and security have increased pressure on the school's budget. The school is hoping to raise more than £1m ($1.4m) through the sale, the proceeds of which will be used to fund a new scholarship in Hepworth's name.
The artworks, acquired in 1959 and 1973 by Wakefield Girls high school, will now be sold in London on 13 June through Sotheby's, The Guardian reported. Hepworth left the school in 1920 when she was 17.
The one acquired in 1959 was sold directly to the school. It is a sheet metal work called "Forms in Movement (Galliard)", which is being sold with an estimate of £250,000 to £350,000. The artwork chosen by Hepworth herself was given to mark the opening of the school's new gymnasium. The sculpture takes its name "Galliard" from a 16th-century dance that saw courtiers leaping, jumping and hopping around the dance floor.
The second artwork is is a marble work called Quiet Form. It was commissioned in 1973 to mark the retirement of the then headteacher Margaret Knott, who had become friends with Hepworth. The sculpture will reportedly be sold with an estimate of £500,000 to £700,000.
John McLeod, a spokesman for the governors of Wakefield grammar school foundation, was quoted by the paper as saying that prices for Hepworth's artworks has shot up in the past years, which has led to a rise in the cost of insurance and security.
The increased costs have exceeded the level the school could justify, he reportedly said, adding that selling the sculptures also means that the school will have "the unexpected opportunity to release significant funds, which can be used to afford other students just the kind of special opportunities Barbara Hepworth enjoyed".
"We are thrilled to be offering two beautiful objects with such a great story of personal importance to one of the giants of 20th-century art," Frances Christie, head of modern and postwar British art at Sotheby's, was quoted by the UK daily as saying about the two Hepworth artworks on sale.
McLeod further said that "Hepworth's extraordinary career" and the way she chased her dream successfully will always make the school "immensely proud".
"Hepworth was encouraged by her headmistress, Miss McCroben, to pursue her dreams. That kind of open-mindedness and aspiration on behalf of the students remains a key tenet of the school's philosophy and approach today," he added.