• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7637

    20th Century British Art

    12 December 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 32

    Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979)

    Still life

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979)
    Still life
    signed and dated 'HITCHENS 32' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    19 x 41 in. (48.3 x 104.2 cm.)


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    In the early 1930s Hitchens found himself part of a large and lively circle of artists and intellectuals, all based around Hampstead. The group included Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Cecil Stephenson and Herbert Read who all lived in the Mall Studios, whilst David Bomberg, Mark Gertler, Paul Nash and H.S. 'Jim' Ede were all within walking distance of one another.

    Whilst perhaps not the most gregarious or outgoing member of the group, Hitchens was nevertheless there, recalled in parties at the Carlines' studio, or at summer picnics on the Suffolk coast, if slightly on the periphery of the group. He was somewhat over-cautious about committing himself to the various artistic groups which existed too and this tendancy to stand slightly apart related itself to his work, the young artist keen to pursue his own vision without becoming too influenced by others.

    Still life, painted in 1932, appears in a photograph of the interior of Hitchens' Hampstead studio, alongside 'Adam and Eve' - two potted chestnut trees (fig. 1). The elements of the composition are those one can easily imagine the artist having close at hand; a simple earthenware jug with bullrushes, a small plant in a flower pot and various dishes and frames stacked along a shelf.

    The painting was included in Hitchens' third one-man exhibition, held at the Lefevre Galleries in 1933. It was the artist's biggest and most varied show to date, with flower pieces and still-lifes predominating. The present work is an important early piece in the artist's oeuvre, already demonstrating the key elements and motifs which were to become crucial in his future output.

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    Provenance

    with Lefevre Gallery, London, where purchased by Elizabeth Roskill in 1932, and by descent.


    Pre-Lot Text

    VARIOUS PROPERTIES


    Literature

    Exhibition catalogue, Ivon Hitchens A Retrospective Exhibition, London, Arts Council, 1963, no. 10, illustrated.
    P. Khoroche, Ivon Hitchens, London, 1990, p. 28, pl. 5.
    P. Khoroche, Ivon Hitchens, Aldershot, 2007, pp. 42, 44, 50, 200, pls. 28 and 36.


    Exhibited

    London, Alex, Reid & Lefevre, Ivon Hitchens, October 1933, no. 29. London, Arts Council, Tate Gallery, Ivon Hitchens A Retrospective Exhibition, July - August 1963, no. 10: this exhibition travelled to Bradford, City Art Gallery, August - September 1963; and Birmingham, City Museum and Art Gallery, September - October 1963.