The Hepworth will host the first prize for sculpture in the UK as part of its fifth anniversary celebrations.
Four artists have been shorlisted for the £30,000 award, which will be accompanied by an exhibition of the finalists’ work from October 21 this year until January 22, 2017.
It is intended to recognise a British or UK-based artist of any age, at any stage in their career, who has made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary sculpture.
The Hepworth’s director Simon Wallis said: “We approached a number of artists and curators and asked them to name the major art prize for sculpture and each time they looked blank.
“The fact that one had never existed is both surprising and disappointing.
“It’s a strange anomaly, but here at the Hepworth sculpture is in our DNA, it’s right there in the name of our gallery which honours Barbara Hepworth and it seemed right that if anyone was going to redress the balance it should be us.”
The shortlisted artists are Phyllida Barlow, Steven Claydon, Helen Marten and David Medalla. The winner of the first Hepworth Prize for Sculpture will be announced at an awards dinner in November.
David Medalla said: “I think the Hepworth Prize for Sculpture is a palpable expression of the greatness of Barbara Hepworth as a sculptor. I love her enduring and inspiring art.”
Art historian Dr Sophie Bowness, a trustee of the gallery and granddaughter of Barbara, said the prize was a fitting legacy to one of Britain’s greatest sculptors.
Barbara’s “career was enhanced through a variety of awards, from her early scholarships the Grand Prix at the 1959 São Paulo Bienal,” she said.