Ivon Hitchens

Woodland, Vertical and Horizontal


Not on display

Ivon Hitchens 1893–1979
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 514 × 1168 mm
frame: 850 × 1455 × 85 mm
Purchased 1959

Display caption

Hitchens often painted several versions of the same view, creating series of works akin to musical variations on a theme. He often spoke of his work as ‘visual music’ (likening shape, colour and tone to ‘instruments in a painter’s orchestra’), which he composed using principles of rhythm, balance, opposition and symmetry. ‘My pictures are painted to be “listened” to,’ he wrote.According to Heron, Hitchens’s use of the horizontal, ‘panoramic’ canvas provided a sense of musical movement and flow and captured the active, ‘swivelling eye’ of the artist moving through the landscape.

Gallery label, May 2007

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Catalogue entry

Inscr. ‘Hitchens’ b.r.
Canvas, 20 1/4×46 (51·5×117).
Purchased from the Leicester Galleries (Grant-in-Aid) 1959.
Exh: Leicester Galleries, May 1959 (21); Arts Council tour, 1963 (113).
Repr: Painter and Sculptor, 11, No.3, 1959, p.3.

The artist wrote from Lavington Common (17 August 1959): ‘Painted in the autumn of 1958. Direct from nature (as is my usual practice with this type of work). The subject is in the plantation woods near this house. I have painted many aspects of this same Drive - throughout the Seasons ever since we came here some 19 years ago. Other views of the same drive are reproduced in the Penguin edition of modern painters - see plates 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 20, 21.’ This refers to the book on his work by Patrick Heron published in 1955.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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