© the artist's estate. Photo credit: Kirklees Museums and Galleries
(b London, 3 Mar. 1893; d Lavington Common, nr. Petworth, Sussex, 29 Aug. 1979). British painter, mainly of landscapes. He created a highly distinctive style, on the borderline between abstraction and figuration, in which broad, fluid areas of vibrant colour, typically on a canvas of wide format, evoke but do not represent the forms of the English countryside that were his main inspiration. From 1940, after his London studio was destroyed by bombing, he lived in Sussex.
By this time his characteristic manner was fully developed and subsequently his work altered little, apart from the fact that his palette changed from naturalistic browns and greens to much more vivid colours such as bright yellows and purples. Contrary to what often happens when an artist remains constant in one style over a period of decades, Hitchens's work did not become stereotyped or banal. In addition to landscapes he painted flowers and figures, and he did several large murals, for example at the University of Sussex (1963).
Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)