Winter Walk, No 2

Ivon Hitchens (1893 - 1979)

Oil on canvas


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  • About the work
    Ivon Hutchins believed that narrow, horizontal canvases such as this helped the eye ‘read’ the landscape, as it moved from left to right -- in the same way that the eye might read a musical score which has a similar format. ‘Winter Walk No 2’ is an abstract panorama of a wooded landscape. Despite the time of year indicated by the title, the scene of Hitchens’ painting reveals a surprising richness of colour in the tree trunks and bare earth. Only the gunmetal grey of the background sky hints at the season. After moving in 1940 from bomb-damaged London to Sussex, his work became increasingly influenced by the beauty of his new rural environment. Referring to his choice of horizontal formats, Hitchens explained that he found a square-shaped canvas unsatisfactory: ‘…because the natural flow of the horizontal is checked. The square shape is itself a unit which needs its counterpoint and in the “time” factor of a square shape it cannot be repeated or echoed in opposition ...therefore I use this long shape.’

  • About the artist
    The son of a painter, Ivon Hitchens was born in London and studied first at St John's Wood School of Art and then, until 1919, at the Royal Academy Schools. In 1920 Hitchens was a founder member of the artists' group, the Seven and Five Society, and exhibited regularly in their shows. During the war he moved with his family to rural Sussex where he lived and worked for the rest of his life, painting abstract landscapes in glorious colours on long, horizontal canvases. Hitchens produced a huge figurative mural for the English Folk Song and Dance Society at Cecil Sharp House in London. He was created CBE in 1958. Retrospectives of his work were held in Leeds in 1945 and at the Royal Academy in 1979.
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    Materials & Techniques
    canvas, oil, oil painting
  • Details
    Winter Walk, No 2
    Oil on canvas
    height: 42.00 cm, width: 110.00 cm
    Purchased from Christie's, 6 November 1981
    br: I H
    Collection of Alastair Hunter; sold through Christie's, London, on 6 November 1981 (Lot 124); from which sale purchased by the Government Art Collection
    GAC number