Roger Hilton 1911-1975
Born in Northwood, Middlesex, he studied at the Slade School of Art 1929-31 under Henry Tonks, and then in Paris at the Academie Ranson under Bissiere. At the Slade he won the Orpen prize in 1930. He was born Roger Hildesheim and his parents changed the name to Hilton in 1916, when anti-German feeling was prevalent. He is best known for his abstract works in oils of the 1950’s, many suggesting landscape, although after 1961, the female figure often appears.
His first one-man show was at the Bloomsbury Gallery in 1936. In 1940 he joined the commandos and was a prisoner of war 1942-5. He taught at Bryanston School after the war and at the Central school 1954-6. He painted and exhibited his first abstract works in the early 1950’s, and travelled to Holland with a Dutch member of the Cobra Group, Constant, after which he reduced his palette to primaries and to black, white and earth colours, inspired by Mondrian.
He won prizes at the John Moores Exhibition in 1959 and 1963, and showed at the Venice Biennale in 1964. He settled in St Ives in 1965 after having visited Patrick Heron some nine years earlier and subsequently renting a studio for summer use. His abstracts of this period suggest floating figures or boats. He was bedridden for the last two and a half years of his life, painting humorous and fantastic figurative works freely and rapidly in bright colours in gouache on paper.... read more