While the Pathfoot Building is closed, the Art Collection will each week focus on some objects of interest. You can also search our entire collection online here.
Large Green, Swiss
(Lithograph, 8/75, 1968)
John Hoyland‘s art used simple shapes, high-key colour and, later, texture and the movement of paint to evoke a world of emotion and imagination. He disliked the ‘abstract’ label and described himself as ‘a painter’.
Born in Sheffield, John Hoyland was one of Britain’s leading abstract painters. He studied at Sheffield School of Art and at the Royal Academy. From the early 1960s onwards he achieved international recognition for a body of work that eliminates literal depiction of the observed world.
Hoyland’s early works were identified by their date of completion. This painting was purchased for the new Art Collection from the Waddington Galleries in London.
Novelist William Boyd, a great admirer and collector of Hoyland’s work, calls such pieces ‘a pure visual delight’, and adds that his ‘large canvases of the 1960s prove that, as a colourist working in abstraction, Hoyland is unmatched. Between the early 1960s and the early 1970s, he produced work of tremendous ambition and audacity, with an impact that is almost palpable, and that should finally prompt a posthumous recognition that he is a modern British master – one of the great abstract painters of the 20th century.’ (William Boyd’s 2015 Guardian article can be read here)
After several works had been purchased from the Waddington Galleries by the new University of Stirling, Leslie Waddington made a generous donation of several prints, including those shown here, to the Art Collection. Matilda Mitchell, the first art curator, explained that ‘it was because we were keen to buy pictures, to show pictures and to build up a collection, that we were given these’.
‘If John Hoyland hadn’t existed, it would have been necessary to have invented him….’ Watch a 1977 BBC Arena film about the artist here…