Ivon Hitchens (British, 1893-1979) Variations on a Theme, No. 6 56 x 84 cm. (22 x 33 in.)

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Lot 78AR
Ivon Hitchens
(British, 1893-1979)
Variations on a Theme, No. 6 56 x 84 cm. (22 x 33 in.)

Sold for £ 68,812 (US$ 85,942) inc. premium
Ivon Hitchens (British, 1893-1979)
Variations on a Theme, No. 6
signed 'Hitchens' (lower left) and indistinctly further signed and inscribed (on a label attached to the stretcher)
oil on canvas
56 x 84 cm. (22 x 33 in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Sale; Sotheby's, London, 13 December 1967, lot 162
    Sale; Phillips, London, 10 November 1987, lot 110, where purchased by the present owner
    Private Collection, U.K.

    Variations on a Theme, No. 6 is a rare and important example of figure painting by Ivon Hitchens. It was not until the Leicester Galleries mounted an exhibition of twenty-seven figurative pictures in 1950 that this aspect of his oeuvre was properly brought to wider public attention and due to the few examples that exist, it is not something that has often been discussed.

    Hitchens had always been interested in and keen to paint the human form. As a student at the Royal Academy Schools there would have been a strong emphasis on draughtsmanship and he would have drawn from antique casts and live models. However, as he forged his own career, a lack of money made the hiring of a professional model difficult and his move to the Sussex countryside gave him unlimited access to landscape. The twenty-seven paintings that were exhibited at the Leicester Galleries, and the present work, came about due to a unique and prolonged period Hitchens had with a professional model in 1948 - he was given the opportunity and seized it.

    Variations on a Theme, No. 6 has clear affinities with the figure painting of Matisse and there can be little doubt he was a strong influence. Colour was intrinsic to Hitchens' style throughout his career and the present work showcases a confident variety of vibrant tones. The form of the figure is composed through rhythmically placed patches of warm yellows, oranges and reds, interspersed with cooler lilacs and greens denoting shadow. The overall outline is formed by linear areas of white primed canvas, which extend around the figure uniting her with the kaleidoscopic surround.

    We are grateful to Peter Khoroche for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.
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