Pink Landscape (1960) by Bridget Riley

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Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 15:01

Bridget Riley painted Pink Landscape (1960) shortly before her move into abstraction. To Riley, this work provides a ‘hinge’ between her early figurative works and her later abstract paintings, which she began the following year.

In Pink Landscape, Riley applied some of the techniques that she had recently acquired through studying the work of the French Impressionist painter Georges Seurat (1859–91). From Seurat, Riley had learnt about the interrelationship between colour, tone and contrast. Her engagement with Seurat, at its most intense in the late 1950s, has continued to inform her work ever since.

Bridget Riley, Pink Landscape, 1960 © Bridget Riley 2019. All rights reserved

In 2007, Riley wrote about the circumstances that led to Pink Landscape, and the sensations that she had intended to capture:

‘In the summer of 1959 I was travelling in Italy, visiting museums and looking at works of art. I stopped near Siena, got out of the car and stood looking out over a great plain. It was an immense arid expanse shimmering in the heat. The sheer volume of light seemed to shatter everything in sight. I wanted to make a painting showing the disintegration of this landscape under the fierce sun. I made a line drawing of the general disposition of the hills across the plain, a tonal study and a colour analysis. Back in London, I worked on a painting that I hoped would recreate the experience outside Siena.’



Bridget Riley is at Hayward Gallery from Wednesday 23 October to Sunday 26 January.

Hayward Gallery is open 11am – 7pm every day except Tuesdays when the gallery is closed, with late night opening on Thursdays until 9pm.

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Bridget Riley is organised by the National Galleries of Scotland in partnership with Hayward Gallery.