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 Ivon Hitchens  (1893 - 1979)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom      Known for: painting

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A Mill and Pool
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

(Sydney) Ivon  Hitchens (1893-1979)

Born at 35 Kensington Square, London on 3 March 1893, the only son of Alfred Hitchens, painter, and Ethel Margaret, née Seth-Smith and in 1895 the family moved to Homewood, Englefield Green, Surrey.  Educated at Conamur School, Sandgate, Kent and  Bedales School, Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire.  To recuperate from severe appendicitis, in 1909, he traveled to New Zealand via Ceylon, where he stayed with relatives returning the following year.  In 1911 an 18 year old art student living on his own account at 14 Alexandra Mansions, West End Lane, Hampstead, with a domestic servant when he attended St John's Wood Art school followed by the Royal Academy schools which he attended intermittently until a fourth and final year 1919 when he acquired a studio in Hampstead, London.

An English painter who started exhibiting during the 1920’s.  He became part of the 'Seven and Five Society of Artists’ (1919-1935) and exhibited with them during the 1930’s when he had a retreat on the Suffolk coast at Sizewell and painted rural scenes across the county producing the lyrical semi-naïve landscapes.  It was at his retreat that John Piper (1903-1992) met his second wife Mfanwy Evans in 1934 and Hitchens painted at Higham in the Stour Valley whilst staying with artists Ida and Blair Hughes-Stanton, and he honeymooned at Sizewell in 1935, after his marriage to Mary Cranford Coates. 

Only towards the close of the 1930’s, when Hitchens had ended a brief flirtation with abstraction, he was painting Holbrook Pools to the south of Ipswich and a Path Through the Wood during his stays on the Shotley Peninsula.  His London house was bombed in 1940 during World War II, at which point he moved to a caravan on a patch of woodland near Petworth in West Sussex.  He worked there for the next forty years, gradually augmenting his caravan with a series of buildings. 

He is particularly well-known for panoramic landscape paintings created from blocks of color and for his meditations on the ponds, birch groves and bracken around his Sussex home.  There is a huge mural by him in the main hall of Cecil Sharp House.  His work was exhibited in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1956 and created a CBE in 1958.

He died at Lavington Common, Chichester, Sussex on 29 August 1979.  Ivon’s son John Patrick Coates Hitchens (born 1940) and grandson Simon Hitchens are both artists.

Information provided by Tony Copsey, author and researcher in Suffolk County, England

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Ivon Hitchens was born in 1893 in London, England.  He studied at St. John's Wood School of Art and at the Royal Academy Schools.  In 1925 he had his first one-man show in London and thereafter exhibited regularly, also in Paris and Venice.  His style was a compromise between pastoral naturalism and abstraction.  He was influenced mainly by the early works (1920s) of Matisse.

Source: Phaidon Encyclopedia of Art and Artists

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