Ivon was born on the 3rd of March 1893, the son of landscape
artist, Alfred Hitchens and Ethel Hitchens. Hitchens’ education began at the Bedales School and was followed by a year of
training at the St. Johns Wood School of Art.
He grew up in Berkshire, moved to New
Zealand for two years after suffering from a severe
illness and returned to England
where he lived for the remainder of his life.
In 1922, he became a founding member of Seven and Five
Society. In that same year he had his first one-man exhibition at The Mayer
Gallery in London.
In 1931, he became a member of The London Group and twenty
years later he was awarded the Purchase Prize in the Arts Council Festival of
Britain – 60 paintings in 51. In 1955 his first monograph, written by Patrick
Heron, was published and in the following year a retrospective exhibition of
his work was arranged by The British Council for the Venice Biennale.
His work in the early thirties came under the influence of
Braque. He contributed to the ‘Objective Abstractions’ at the Zwemmer Gallery.
He continued for a short period in producing abstract pictures, i.e. ‘Triangle
to Beyond’ in 1936. From this point on, his work was all painted on traditional
seascape format, (long horizontal canvases) in the form of abstract landscapes.
After the bombing of his London
home in 1940 he moved to Sussex.
In this period he began to paint figures indoors and outdoors. Even though he
continued to paint nudes in his landscapes, the majority of his works
thereafter were abstracted landscapes, recognizeable by his brushstrokes and
individual sweeps of color.
In the midst of his career in 1942, artists such as Hitchens, Hodgkins, Moore
and Sutherland were grouped together and labelled the ‘Neo-Romantic’ style.
Ivon Hitchens died in August 1979.