Patrick Heron: The Colour of Colour

Paintings 1965-1977


7 October - 17 December 2021

Monday - Friday 10am - 6pm

Saturday - 11am - 5pm

(No booking required)


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This is the first exhibition of Patrick Heron’s work to be held at Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert since taking on representation of the artist’s estate. Focusing on a pivotal period in Heron’s career from the mid-sixties, it reveals a truly decisive shift towards a more personal language based upon colour and form. Gone are the soft-edged circles and squares which defined his previous work, replaced instead by his ‘wobbly, hard-edge’ forms, a reference to the more linear work included in this show.


Colour pervades Heron’s work; it is at the heart of his oeuvre, the means and content of his painting.  It also became the ‘subject’ of his painting and later led him to sharpen the boundaries between contrasting juxtapositions of colour; in the artist’s words, ‘the sharper the division between colour, the more intense the colour will be’. The work is the result of Heron’s experience of looking acutely at the world.  Although the pictures do not directly represent the garden and landscape of his home and studio in Cornwall, the forms of these surroundings resonate in his painting in fundamental ways and whilst his work undoubtedly broke new ground in the post-war British abstract movement it still found its place in a figurative, and a very much European, tradition. His significant contribution to abstract painting and his influential research into colour theory was instrumental in teaching a new generation of artists about the relationship between colour, form and space, while his art criticism helped the public to gain a better understanding and appreciation of international modern art at large.