- Ivon Hitchens
- yellow depths
- oil on canvas
- 51.5 by 106cm.; 20¼ by 41¾in.
Acquired by Susan Vere Hodge in 1983
Painted in 1950.
Hitchens' unique evocation of the essence of the English countryside was one which secured him a position that unusually bestrode the modernist and traditional camps. Developed during the 1930s, his removal of extraneous detail and unerring compositional abilities allowed him to express the essence of the places he painted with a certainty that, in concert with the viewer's own experience of such locations, almost instantly draws the viewer to the very spot and time of their execution.
Like Piper, Hitchens had flirted with modernism and abstraction in the mid 1930s, but had moved back towards an art that was firmly based in the real world. This move was hastened by WWII and having been bombed out of his Swiss Cottage studio, he moved to West Sussex, where he was to remain for the rest of his life. This constant exposure to a specific landscape gave rise to several series of paintings, investigating the ever-changing nature of a landscape throughout the year and in widely varying conditions. The fine-tuning of the very particular technique that he developed in the years after WWII led by the early 1950s to a style which suggests so much by its quiet economy. The wide format forces the viewer to 'read' the surface of the painting and thus Hitchens can lead us through the lush vegetation almost as if we were there. This painting uses the reflections and layers of sky and foliage to initially confuse the viewer, but then allow him to build up the image with its wealth of views and vistas.