Some of Hitchens's flower pieces can be read as landscapes but in Open Blue the two genres seem to be in confrontation: on the right one poppy, or rather, Hitchens's amazing shorthand for a poppy (just look at the separate paint marks), and on the left horizontal bands of colour leading the eye up and back towards a distant smudge of green - a landscape all but blotted out by the huge block of blue that dominates the picture.
The sky does not usually play a prominent part in a Hitchens landscape. Often it is obscured by a canopy of leaves and branches. But here it is 'in your face' and moreover not where you expect it to be, with a teasing pattern of vapour trails, in paint and sgraffito. A mystery picture, indeed, but highly dramatic, uncompromising, provocative.
We are very grateful to Peter Khoroche for preparing the catalogue entries for lots 6 and 14.