Physiological studies have reported that the intermediate-level visual area represents primitive shape by the selectivity to curvature and its direction. However, it has not been revealed that what coding scheme underlies the construction of the selectivity with complex characteristics. We propose that sparse representation is crucial for the construction so that a sole control of sparseness is capable of generating physiological characteristics. To test the proposal, we applied component analysis with sparseness constraint to activities of model neurons, and investigated whether the computed bases reproduce the characteristics of the selectivity. To evaluate the learned bases quantitatively, we computed the tuning properties of single bases and the population, as similar to the physiological reports. The basis functions reproduced the physiological characteristics when sparseness was medium (0.6-0.8). These results indicate that sparse representation is crucial for the curvature selectivity, and that a sole control of sparseness is capable of constructing the representation.