The artist, 1975
Waddington Galleries, London
The Hon. David Thomson
Waddington Galleries, London, 1968
Arts Council, London, Roger Hilton; Paintings and drawings 1931-1973, 1-31 March 1974, cat no. 96, illustrated
When in 1961 Roger Hilton first started introducing female figures into his paintings it caused considerable shock and dismay among those supporters of his work for whom Hilton was one of the key figures in the growing success of abstract art in England. Hilton, of course, did not see it that way and from this point on he appears to move, uninhibitedly and with complete ease, between abstraction and figuration. The female figure, in one form or another, became one of the central motifs of his art or, as Hilton put it: 'In figurative painting the subject matter of a picture is not the artist's thought, it is also part of the medium. Figuration is one element, like chiaroscuro or perspective, which can be put in or left out.' Mostly it has to be said, in Hilton's work from the mid 1960s up to his death in 1975, it was put in. The female figure in particular became an intensely personal motif, its often exuberant, irascible sexual character, as here, somehow becoming the very spirit of Hilton himself.