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Four Vermilions by Patrick Heron

Four Vermilions 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.

Four Vermilions:

The harmony of this painting is achieved through the use of different tones of a single colour and reveals the way they are optically modified according to their position when superimposed upon or adjacent to a different tone. It is interesting to consider whether this painting is constructed as a flat space, or whether the shapes create shallow sections which protrude or recede.

(Due to copyright restrictions, we are unable to publish images of the artist's work online.)