Ivon Hitchens 1893-1979

Ivon Hitchens was a British painter, mainly of landscapes.


"Hitchens was born in London, son of the painter Alfred Hitchens, and studied at St John's Wood School of Art (1911-12) and the Royal Academy Schools (several years on and off between 1912 and 1919). In 1920, he became a founder member of the progressive 'Seven & Five Society' and was the only artist to belong to it throughout its entire lifetime until its demise in 1935. During this time, he experimented with pure abstraction (he exhibited as one of the 'Objective Abstractionists' in 1934), but by the late 1930s he had created a highly distinctive style on the borderline between abstraction and figuration in which broad, fluid areas of lush colour, typically on a canvas of wide format, evoke but do not represent the forms of the English countryside that were his inspiration. In 1940, following the bombing of his London studio, he settled permanently at Lavington Common, near Petworth, in Sussex. His work altered little from then, apart from the fact that his palette changed from naturalistic browns and greens to more vivid colours such as bright yellows and purples. Contrary to what often happens when an artist remains constant in one style over several decades, Hitchens's work did not become stereotyped or banal. In addition to landscapes, Hitchens painted flowers and figure subjects (usually nudes) and he did several large murals, for example at Nuffield College, Oxford (1959), and the University of Sussex (1963). His work is represented in the Tate Gallery, London, and many public collections. His son John Hitchens (1940- ) is also a painter, mainly of landscapes and flower pieces."

A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art, 1999, © Ian Chilvers


The most definitive monograph on Hitchens was written by Peter Khoroche and the most recent edition was published in 2014 by Lund Humphries. David Bowie owned a number of Hitchens' paintings from throughout his career.