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In the early 1970s Hilton executed fewer oil paintings. Ill health was approaching and from October 1972 until his death in February 1975 he was confined to bed. During this time he completed numerous brightly-coloured paintings in gouache (a kind of poster paint) on paper. Some of these are figurative, some abstract. Given his situation, the vitality of these works is remarkable. 'Untitled 1971' is among Hilton's last oil paintings and it anticipates the uninhibited energy and invention of his gouaches. Hilton commented: 'I like my colours dynamic and strongly contrasted. After all, one prefers something alive to something dead. The more alive a person or a picture, the better they are ...'

August 2004