Watercolour & gouache
49 x 37 cm
Signed & dated 1934
Inscribed To Eve from Frances Hodgkins 10.10.34
Mrs Eve Disher (1894-1991)
The Ruskin Gallery, Stratford on Avon The Peter Dingley Collection, London
From Frances Hodgkins to Dorothy Selby, 10 Jan 1933, Hotel Balear, Ibiza
‘I am still reacting pleasantly to Ibiza in the painting way and find heaps to do. All very lovely. I can hardly believe it. Weather much colder but fine today. Houses very cold & we seek bed or café in evenings to keep warm’.
Rée Gorer, mother of social anthropologist Geoffrey Gorer, became a great admirer and patron of Frances Hodgkins’ work, and it was her purchase of a painting that enabled Hodgkins in late 1932 to fund the last of her long continental journeys, south to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands, to escape the bleak British winter.
Hodgkins was in Ibiza from October 1932 until the following July, meeting up with English artist Gwen Knight and New Zealander May Smith. Ibiza and Tossa de Mar, on the Costa Brava, were initially suggested as excellent venues for subject matter by Karl Hagedorn and his wife. Hodgkins enjoyed the island’s balmy climate, as well as its culture and history. Seeking not only new subject matter, but a more comfortable climate, she started work on a substantial new body of paintings to be shown at her first solo exhibition with Lefevre Gallery.
Hodgkins responded to the islands clear ivory light writing,‘… things appear in stark simplicity minus all the detail – nothing corked up (bouchée) or hidden as in grey, or brown light of the North. Of course, later on, this intense sun light will convert colour & form into absolute negation but at the moment there is complete lovlieness. The pale coloured flat roofed houses without windows give a blind restful feeling, of immense space’.
Traditional Ibizan houses were to prove a great source of inspiration for Hodgkins. The present painting, Ibiza, is comparable to two other works, Terrace Garden, Ibiza 1933 (Private collection) and Landscape, Ibiza c.1933 (Private collection). Preferring to work out of doors, Hodgkins would paint in the early morning or late afternoon, often setting herself up at a vantage point on Dalt Vila, Ibiza’s fortified old town.
Hodgkins was forced to postpone the exhibition at Lefevre when the pressure to produce enough works on time became too great. Her Ibiza works were eventually included in New Watercolour Drawings, in October-November 1933. The inscription on the present work, however, makes it unlikely that it was included in the 1933 exhibition. Instead, it was gifted some twelve months later to the young British artist, Eve Disher. Disher was in Cedric Morris’ circle and involved with the wider Bloomsbury set. She was also rumoured to be romantically involved with Morris’ friend Arthur Elton. Hodgkins wrote on several occasions to Lucy Wertheim about Eve and her work, suggesting that Wertheim should add her to her stable of ‘Young Masters’ at the later renamed Wertheim Gallery.
Written by Jonathan Gooderham & Grace Alty
We are grateful to Dr Pamela Gerrish Nunn for her assistance in compiling the catalogue entries.