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Roger Hilton, October 1955 Calm (Black, Grey, Brown and White), 1955

Who made it?

Roger Hilton (1911 – 1975) was a British painter. In his youth he studied at the Slade and travelled between France and England before his career was interrupted by World War ll. Hilton eventually reconnected with painting through spending time in St Ives and Paris and working on his approach to representation and abstraction. In 1953 he was introduced to the work of Piet Mondrian, and Hilton’s response marked the end of his long period as a student – as his paintings began to create space rather than simply inhabit it.

When was this painting made?

In 1955, the beginning of a successful decade for the artist, he began painting on the edge of abstraction and figuration in a deeply personal and imaginative way. At the same time Hilton began to title his work sequentially by month and year to assert a sense of sparseness and formality.

How was this painting made?

“Try to simplify your colours as much as possible, choose five or four colours and stick to them”

Hilton painted October 1955 Calm (Black, Grey, Brown and White) using oil on canvas, exploiting the quality of the paint to create a variety of textures and contrasting forms. The painting shows Hilton’s skill in using precise and sculptural feeling for shapes without harsh lines to create a sense of space.

Where can I see it?

October 1955 Calm (Black, Grey, Brown and White) is on display for only two more days, as part of Being Modern at the Fitzwilliam Museum, until Sunday 26 March 2017. More information here.