Autumn, c. 1936-1940
oil on canvas
52.1 x 104.8 cm
Gift of the Massey Collection of English Painting, 1946
National Gallery of Canada (no. 4771)
From 1936 on, Ivon Hitchens favoured a long horizontal format for his landscape-inspired paintings. He felt that the double-square canvas - exactly twice as wide as it is high - enabled him to depict a panoramic vista that gave musicality to a painting. This approach, inspired by Wassily Kandinsky's ideas about the musical nature of painting, also led Hitchens to push his landscapes towards abstraction. He wrote, "I seek to recreate the truth of nature by making my own song about it." In spite of this, an early description of the painting in the 1946 catalogue of the Massey collection identifies the subject with precision: "Interior of a wood with path leading into the middle-distance; right a small grey-roofed hut; a fallen tree trunk centre . . ."