Ivon Hitchens 1893-1979
Watercolour and ink on paper
Signed 'SIH' (Sydney Ivon Hitchens)
10 x 5.5 ins / 25 x 13.75 cms
Gifted by the artist as a student to Professor Hugh Hale-Bellot
Thence by descent
This very early Hitchens is both significant and interesting and must rate as one of Hitchens earliest known works. Hitchens artistic direction as a student was heavily influenced by Arthur Wesley Dow's (1857-1922) (see below) painters' manual entitled 'Composition' which was first published in New York in 1899. 'Composition' based instruction on the mastery of the elements of line and 'notan'. 'Notan' is the Japanese term to describe value, or dark and light. Hitchens was to refer to this technique throughout his artistic life and this early watercolour bears all the hallmarks of this instruction.
Ivon Hitchens was born in Hove in 1893, he attended Bedales School in Hampshire from ten to sixteen (1903-1909) where he befriended fellow student Hugh Hale-Bellot (1880-1969). Hugh Hale-Bellot became Commonwealth Fund Professor of American History at London University and subsequently London University's Vice Chancellor. Correspondence between the two school friends can be viewed at Senate House Library, London University, London.
Bedales school was founded in 1893 by John Haden Badley and is located in the village of Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire. Its school emblem is a Tudor rose with a bee at the centre. The school motto is "Work of each for weal of all". Bedales Alumni include Josiah Wedgwood, Simon Cadell, Daniel Day-Lewis, Viscount Linley, Lady Chatto and Minnie Driver.
Throughout his life he painted in a long, horizontal format, heavily framed to give a panoramic vista. He registered the sensations of the weather and woods around him as frontal planes, with oil paint often damp and earthy in colour and laid on to the canvas with forthright sweeps and stabs of broad brushes. His characteristic manner was the deftly placed blocks of brushed pigment set on a bare white ground, sometimes with a few straggling lines scratched in with a palette knife.
Arthur Wesley Dow (1857-1922)
Arthur Wesley Dow was fortunately the dominant influence in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Significantly, Dow's interest was in a new interpretation of art forms and a means of learning the practice of art through that interpretation. Ordinarily, few children readily develop naturalistic drawing ability at an early age. A great many children much more easily acquire a power of organising line, colour, and shapes into a composition or design, which possesses a personal distinction. [Composition p.113] His work at Teachers College in New York City from 1904 to his death in 1922, and the earlier years at Pratt Institute, influenced generations of public-school art teachers and supervisors.