Roger Hilton (1911-1975)
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Roger Hilton (1911-1975)

May '58

Roger Hilton (1911-1975)
May '58
signed and dated 'HILTON/May '58' (on the reverse)
oil and charcoal on canvas
20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61 cm.)
with Waddington Galleries, London.
with Redfern Gallery, London, where purchased by the present owner, 4 March 1986.
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Lot Essay

'In February and March 1958, Hilton's first retrospective was mounted at the ICA. For the first time, the mature artistic nature of Hilton was on public display, in a powerful selection of works ... The exhibition was a serious and important event which led to the Tate buying its first work by the artist, January 1957 ... The anonymous critic of The Times identified "the large, ragged shapes, the rich, earthy colour, and the broad handling which have remained consistent characteristics of his present manner". The review goes on to state that Hilton's paintings inspire confidence. "They remain essentially simple arrangements without looking empty, and their abstraction retains innuendos of shallow space and of properties that one might associate with dark landscapes which had been rolled flat ... when the handling becomes broader and more free, it is the trail of an errant line across the lumbering shapes of black, orange, or brown which gives the painting its characteristic allusiveness to things not altogether abstract"' (see A. Lambirth, Roger Hilton, The Figured Language of Thought, London, 2007, pp. 125-126).
'Later that year, in July 1958, David Sylvester selected Hilton to feature in his Critic's Choice exhibition at Tooth's Gallery. It was an eclectic mix, bringing together Bacon with William Coldstream and Victor Pasmore, Hilton with a newly abstract Rodrigo Moynihan and the spirit-haunted pictographs of Alan Davie, a young Frank Auerbach, and two sculptors - Kenneth Armitage and Eduardo Paolozzi. Hilton was represented by four recent canvases' (op. cit.. p. 129).

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