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The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds is closed for refurbishment until Summer 2024.

In memory of Phyllida Barlow

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dame Phyllida Barlow. Her impact upon the trajectory of sculpture is immeasurable, both through her own work and as a teacher.

Dame Phyllida Barlow
4 April 1944 – 12 March 2023

As Professor at the Slade School of Fine Art, Phyllida Barlow inspired generations of artists. Her work has been seen across the globe, including when she represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2017.

Barlow’s connection to Yorkshire dated back to the late 1980s and 1990s when she created two large-scale works within the old mill complex at Dean Clough in Halifax. Her work first entered the collection of Leeds Museums and Galleries in 2004, when fifteen of her works on paper from the mid-1970s to the 2000s were ultimately acquired.

Described by the artist as ‘bad copies’ and drawn from memory, these drawings range from swift biro and pencil sketches in notebooks and diaries, often appearing beside domestic reminders and lists, to more heavily worked acrylic drawings and oil paintings, which experiment with surface textures as well as colours, forms and arrangements.

Phyllida Barlow, Untitled c.1998, pencil and acrylic. Courtesy Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery).
Phyllida Barlow, 'untitled: venicecolumns; 2016-2017' 2016-17. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Alex Delfanne.

In 2019 we were delighted to acquire Barlow’s Untitled: venicecolumns; 2016-2017, a collection of models for seven giant, stacked columns relating to her commission folly (2017) for the British Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale, alongside the sculpture HOLD (1986-89) from the Contemporary Art Society through a special partnership with the Henry Moore Foundation, supported by Cathy Wills.

We were privileged to work with Phyllida on a number of exhibitions across the years, including an extensive display of over a hundred of her ‘bad copy’ drawings in 2012.

Most recently, her provocation that “sculpture is the most anthropological of the art forms” formed the basis for the inaugural Yorkshire Sculpture International, a festival of sculpture taking place across Leeds and Wakefield in the summer of 2019.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to all her family, friends and former students.

Exhibitions by Phyllida Barlow at the Henry Moore Institute

New Acquisitions on Paper: Phyllidia Barlow, Sarah Staton and Cecile Johnson Soliz

14 September 2005 – 7 January 2006
Upper Sculpture Study Gallery

Though different in style and execution, these three contemporary British sculptors are bound by a common theme that places the sculptural subject in a space with an almost imaginary context.