Blackpaint 164

Warrior Taking leave of his wife, 440BC

It’s painted on an oil jar in the museum in Athens.  The warrior appears to be handing his helmet to his wife, who sits impassively before him, one arm casually thrown over the back of the curly chair.  Surely she should be handing him the helmet?  The thin white slip coating the jar gives a matte surface to paint on.  like many of these artefacts, this one looks as if it was made some time last week, rather than 2500 years ago, give or take.  See it in Phaidon’s “30,000 years of art”, if you don’t live in Athens.


Looking at “Croaking Movement” and “Shimmering Substance” from “Sounds in the Grass” series 1946; the first with its white triangles and globes, the second with its squirming yellow worms of paint – he must have been trying to express sound, like Kandinsky and others, that idea of synaesthesia.  he did one later called “Untitled (scent)”, which is a strange sort of title, but implies he was trying to do the same with smell.  That seems to me to be a very tall order, harder than sound which can be harsh, jerky, smooth, soft etc.

Have to be cautious here, however, since it’s well known that others, dealers and gallerists, supplied some of the names for his paintings, such as those with a mythological title.

Roger Hilton

Very characteristic of Hilton’s paintings from early 50s is that mottled, fluffy whiteness, forming a background to the floating, disparate shapes he was doing in 1953.  Later, from about 61, there are the areas of bare canvas, the scruffy charcoal lines and splashes and lozenges of colour, blues, brown, reds. 

Have to stop now – private view tonight. 

Elgin Movements,  Blackpaint


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