December's Pylon of the Month was chosen to bring a bit of colour to the depths of winter and also to bring a bit of culture to the blog. The picture above, La Route des Alpes, is by Tristram Hiller and was painted in 1937 when he was staying near Vence, a commune set in the hills of the Alpes Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France, north of Nice and Antibes. Even the keenest followers of the blog might struggle to recall that Hiller also featured on PotM back in January 2014 with his 1933 pylon painting which is generally accepted as one of the earliest or possibly even the first artistic appearance of a pylon. Hillier studied at the Slade School of Art, London, in 1926, and then in Paris where he fell under the influence of surrealists such as Giorgio de Chirico and Max Ernst. According to the Tate's description of this painting, Hillier later wrote that when staying near Vence:
I started to paint landscape again, not in my earlier manner en plein air, but attempting to construct my pictures from rough drawings which I would elaborate in the studio, in the style of the Flemish and Italian masters whose work I had recently had so much opportunity of studying. This was the beginning of my ultimate phase in painting, and became the manner in which I have worked ever since.
For a bit more on the life of Hillier, this short 6 minute film is hard to beat, but if you're looking for a deep dive into his artistic influences and how he blurred the distinction between abstraction and surrealism then this Art UK article is where to go. For a wider cultural overview of pylons and the art and poetry of the 1920s then James Purdon's 'Landscapes of Power' is excellent.
Merry Christmas to pylon fans everywhere! Next month we'll get back to pylons in real life.