Barbara Hepworth sculpture to auction for $2.3m?

A signed and dated bronze sculpture, created by late English artist Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), is to grace the auction block at Christie's Modern British Art Evening Sale in London on July 10.

The 1961 piece, entitled Curved Form (Bryher II), is estimated to be worth £1m-1.5m ($1.6m-2.3m).

Barbara Hepworth auction
Casts of Hepworth's dynamic Curved Form (Bryher II) reside in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

It hails from one of Hepworth's most prolific periods. Changes to the artist's method, including an increased interest in bronze, as well as several high-profile public commissions, led Hepworth to expand her working space into a disused cinema across the road from her Trewyn Studio in St Ives, Cornwall, and take on several assistants.

Recalling this time, Hepworth remembered: "I at last had space and money to work on a bigger scale. I had felt inhibited for a very long time over the scale on which I could work.

"It's so natural to work large - it fits one's body."

Chadwick Sitting Couple
Chadwick’s paired figures are among the most iconic sculptures of the 20th century – Sitting Couple is estimated at £1m-1.5m ($1.6m-2.3m)

A similarly substantial Hepworth sculpture, Ultimate Form, sold for $2.6m at Sotheby's in November 2006.

Another eye-catching piece destined for Christie's on July 10 is Lynn Chadwick's Sitting Couple.

Signed and numbered "6/9" by Chadwick (1914-2003), Sitting Couple is also expected to achieve £1m-1.5m ($1.6m-2.3m).

Especially interested in paired figures, Chadwick's circa 1989 bronze sculpture features a man and a woman sitting side by side on a bench, ever so slightly inclined towards one another.

Couple on a Seat, a 1984 Chadwick bronze that Sitting Couple echoes in terms of both subject and composition, sold for $1.9m at Sotheby's in November 2006.

Earlier this month, Francois-Xavier Lalanne's Singe Avise (Grand) - a free-standing patinated bronze ape - sold for $413,000 at Phillips.

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