Catalogue entry

T01907 PAINTING 55–56 1955–6
Inscribed on reverse ‘Painting 55–56 Anthony Hill AH [monogram] 55–56’
Oil and ripolin on canvas, 50×20 (127×50.9)
Purchased from the artist (Knapping Fund) 1974

The following notes, approved by the artist, are based on conversations with him of February 1975 and March 1976 and a written statement of February 1975.

In December 1955 and January 1956, probably in his Greek Street Studio, Hill executed the last 4 works in which he used paint. Thereafter for several years he worked exclusively in reliefs and other three-dimensional works and later returned to making works on a flat surface, but without using paint.

Two of the last four paintings (Nos. 45 and 46 in the artist's catalogue, and each 41 1/2×21 3/4 in.) consisted of 2 or 3 narrow black horizontal lines to the right of a vertical black line on a white or cream coloured background. A view of these two works and T.1907 in a photograph of Hill's studio was reproduced in Studio International CLXXII October 1966, p.200.

The two other paintings executed in December 1955–January 1956 were the only paintings by Hill which are seen to be symmetrical if a line were drawn down the centre of each. The works, identical in size, are Nos. 47 and 48 in the artist's catalogue. Number 47 is T01907 and 48 is in a private collection. Both consist of horizontal bands of black, white and cream. In T01907 the black bands are uniformly narrow and in the other painting both black, white and cream bands are relatively wide and each different from the others, and painted in black ripolin, cream ripolin, blackboard black, matt white and matt black oil paint.

In a statement the artist wrote of T01907:

‘This painting has no calculated composition and is a study in texture and reductionism, the coloured areas are supposed to suggest that the canvas is bound by bands-as if they continued round the back like a bandage round a limb’.

In fact the bands of colour in T01907 do not continue beyond the plane of picture, but in the other symmetrical work the bands of black continue onto the canvas covering the sides of the stretcher.

Hill sees his two band paintings as part of his early work in making reliefs. After executing these paintings he made a number of very shallow reliefs using malleable material such as artificial leather to contrast different types of surface. These works were not developed beyond making small studies.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978