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Orange and Lemon with White by Patrick Heron

Orange and Lemon with White by Patrick Heron

© The Estate of Patrick Heron. All rights reserved, DACS 2021.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s Patrick Heron, like others of his British contemporaries, felt the influence of the American Colour Field and Abstract Expressionist painting. By about 1965, however, he began to express reservations, particularly, it seems, about the ‘hard-edge’ colourists whose work he described as “clinically impersonal, literally dead flat in quality”. Heron began a large series of what he called his ‘wobbly hard-edge’ paintings, lasting roughly from 1964 to 1976. In these the boundaries between areas of colour were quickly and freely delineated and the oil paint painstakingly applied using small Chinese watercolour brushes to create a uniformly smooth surface. His aim was to compose “asymmetrical, unequal, disparate, formal ingredients into a state of architectonic harmony”. The two large paintings in the Warwick collection are from this period.

Orange and Lemon with White:

Uneven circular and linear shapes seem to float against a background of orange, some of these are yellow while others are areas of unpainted white canvas. This heightens the impression of flat space in which form and rhythm generate powerful effects. It is said that the shapes themselves evoke the contours of the moors, cliffs and boulders in his adopted home in Cornwall.