In death as in life, it has been the unhappy fate of the sculptor Barbara Hepworth (1903–75) to be overshadowed by her compatriot and contemporary Henry Moore—by the size of his output, the scale of his reputation, and the degree of his ubiquity. A good biography would go a long way toward rebalancing the scales in Hepworth’s favor, but this goal has proved elusive, owing to what one writer has called the “Cerberus-like” actions of her heirs. Her son-in-law and executor, the art historian and former Tate Gallery director Alan Bowness, withheld general access to Hepworth’s papers so that he could write the biography he had discussed with her. But this had still not appeared by the time of his death in March. In addition, permission of the estate was required for anyone wishing to reproduce...


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