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Unsung artist Helaine Blumenfeld OBE on Sky arts

Sky arts to broadcast Hard Beauty, a new film about one of Britain's great unsung artists, Helaine Blumenfeld OBE.

Hard Beauty, the first film about the life and work of sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld, OBE, will premiers on Sky Arts tonight at 10pm. Directed by the award-winning filmmaker, Rupert Edwards, the film follows Blumenfeld over the course of one year as she works on a monumental public commission, Tree of Life: Encounter, for the Woolf institute in Cambridge.

Helaine Blumenfeld is one of the most respected sculptors of her generation and one of the art world's best kept secrets. She has dedicated the last fifty years to creating large-scale bronze and marble sculptures that lie at the intersection between abstraction and figuration. Blumenfeld;s sculptures can be found in prominent public spaces across Britain, Europe and the Us, and in museum collections around the world- most recently a piece of hers was installed at the V&A.

Blumenfeld has an unwavering commitment to her singular artistic vision. In an art world preoccupied with the conceptual, she has carved out her own path, devoting her life to creating beautiful forms from the hardest material. She has fearlessly embraced the physical and emotional demands of being a sculptor, breaking into a male-dominated field, and sacrificing time with her two sons as they gre up.

Featuring sequences filmed in Paris, where Blumenfeld first learned her craft under the great Russian sculptor Ossip Zadkine; Pietrasanta, Italy- a sanctuary for sculptors since Michelangelo, where Blumenfeld has a studio, and the artists hometown of Cambridge, this film reveals the story of one of Britain's greatest living sculptors. It follows the creation of Blumfeld's sculpture, Tree of Life: Encounter , from conceiving the form in clay, to scaling up, ‘roughing out’ and finishing the marble, to installing the completed 10ft sculpture at the Woolf Institute’s new headquarters at Westminster College, Cambridge, in February 2018. 

Timothy Potts, Director, Getty Museum, who features in the film says: “It’s quite remarkable that Helaine Blumenfeld, at this stage in her life, is enjoying so much success with new commissions and recognition from major museums, collectors and public institutions. Many artists have successful mid-life careers but their future doesn’t always look as exciting as what’s come before them. Helaine has avoided that pitfall by continuing to evolve in her artistry; what she’s creating now is more ambitious and complex than ever before. I am sure that Helaine’s work will survive the test of time and she will have a place in 20th and 21st century history.”

What do you think of Helaine Blumfeld? Have you seen any of her work? 

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