Derek Hy­att

York­shire land­scape artist whose vividly coloured work earned com­par­isons with the St Ives school

The Daily Telegraph - - Obituaries - Derek Hy­att, born Fe­bru­ary 21 1931, died De­cem­ber 8 2015

DEREK HY­ATT, who has died aged 84, was a Bri­tish artist who painted land­scapes of York­shire in a bold pal­ette. His works blended na­ture, per­sonal history and sym­bol­ism and drew com­par­i­son with those of the St Ives set, in par­tic­u­lar the aerial views of Peter Lanyon, yet his can­vases also em­braced the vi­brant colour schemes of Fauve artists such as An­dré Derain and Mau­rice de Vlam­inck.

In the mid-1960s, hav­ing stud­ied in Leeds and Nor­wich and en­joyed a spell in the lime­light of Lon­don’s art world, Hy­att im­mersed him­self in the North York­shire of his youth. He would re­main there for the rest of his life.

“I bought a farm­house on a 1,000 ft con­tour and you looked down into Bish­op­dale,” Hy­att said. “I tasted an­other life, an­other time and history.” He painted the sur­round­ing hills, the dry stone walls, the eerie moor­land and the curlews and owls pass­ing his win­dow, al­though as An­drew Lam­birth noted in The Spec­ta­tor, “paint­ing for [Hy­att] is not a record of ap­pear­ances, but an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mys­te­ri­ous heart of things”.

This ten­dency to ab­strac­tion was aptly il­lus­trated by his later work Grey

Rain and Signs (Mal­ham), which fused to­gether fault lines in lime­stone rocks, pe­cu­liar fig­ures, a cru­ci­fix and a gi­ant rain­drop. It was, he said, a “land­scape where things are worn away and lit­tle clues are wedged in the cracks”.

The son of a turf ac­coun­tant, Derek James Hy­att was born in 1931 in Ilk­ley, York­shire. Derek at­tended Ilk­ley Gram­mar School dur­ing the war. On a sketch­ing trip to Lang­bar Moor he found a live grenade, caked in mud and miss­ing its pin, and “cy­cled all the way back down from Lang­bar Moor with the grenade bounc­ing about in the bas­ket on the front of my bike”.

Be­tween 1948 and 1952 he stud­ied at Leeds Col­lege of Art be­fore con­tin­u­ing to Nor­wich School of Art (part-time while he com­pleted his Na­tional Ser­vice in the RAF) and the Royal Col­lege of Art (1954-58). At the RCA he won the Royal Scholar prize and a J An­drew Lloyd Schol­ar­ship for Land­scape Paint­ing, and edited Ark, the col­lege’s jour­nal. As a stu­dent he was greatly in­flu­enced by the colour­blocked land­scapes of John Nash.

Hy­att taught at var­i­ous in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing Kingston School of Art (1959-64) and a stint as a vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Cincin­nati in 1980. His long­est ten­ure was at Leeds Polytech­nic School of Cre­ative Arts and De­sign, where he lec­tured from 1968 to 1984. His com­mand of words was al­most as fine as his han­dling of paint.

Hy­att ex­hib­ited widely in the North – in Hal­i­fax, Sh­effield, Brad­ford – but (af­ter his re­turn to York­shire) in­fre­quently in Lon­don. He showed at the Wadding­ton gallery in the 1970s but there could be gaps of decades be­fore new ma­te­rial was seen in the cap­i­tal. There were, how­ever, solo pre­sen­ta­tions in re­cent years at Art Space in Is­ling­ton, in­clud­ing Meet­ings on the Moor: The Bish­op­dale Paint­ings (2012) and Time Glides in Se­cret (2014).

He was made a com­pan­ion of the Guild of St Ge­orge in 1990 and, five years later, a mem­ber of the In­ter­na­tional Artists for Na­ture Foun­da­tion. His works sit in many cor­po­rate and pub­lic col­lec­tions, in­clud­ing those of Bal­liol Col­lege, Ox­ford, Leeds and Har­vard uni­ver­si­ties, the New York Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art and the Fi­nan­cial Times; and were bought by fel­low mod­ern Bri­tish artists such as Ivon Hitchens.

When Hy­att ex­hib­ited in Lon­don last year his se­quence of paint­ings once again dealt with York­shire’s harsh beauty.

Hy­att him­self claimed that he did not have a style, only a sub­ject: York­shire’s wilds. “Al­ways there was some­thing hap­pen­ing there,” he said. “There was the day of the red bull, the day of the snow­storm, the day of the mul­ti­ple rain­bows.”

His wife, Rosamond, whom he mar­ried in 1960, died a few weeks be­fore him. He is sur­vived by their daugh­ter.

Hy­att (right, his paint­ing Hawk’s View, oil on board): he im­mersed him­self in the land­scape of his home county

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.