Tristram Hillier (1905–1983) was one of the most distinctive British artists of the 20th century
He was born in Peking to a banking family and led a nomadic early life. A ‘tornado of conflicting influences’, including cubism and surrealism, shaped his art in the 1920s, and soon he was accepted as a major figure in British modernism. He developed a highly individual style in which the refined detachment of his paintings is haunted by subtler energies.
Hillier made his family home in Somerset, but longed each year for his solitary journeys through Spain, Portugal and France. Somerset’s melancholy winter skies and the sun-filled landscapes he valued so highly thus came to mark a division in both his life and his art.
This digital exhibition was created following a major retrospective at The Museum of Somerset, which brought together the largest collection of Hillier’s paintings to have been seen in more than thirty years. Together they allow us to discover once again his complex and remarkable artistic vision.