The paintings of Derek Hirst are among the most remarkable bodies of work created by an artist of his generation. Born in Doncaster in 1930, he became a passionate devotee of Spain, its landscape, its cities and villages and its culture. The country provided the foundations of an art which at first glance seems almost random in its evolution, and in its experiments with various media. But a powerful link unites Hirst's years of brilliant endeavour: from the doors and landscapes which first made his high reputation to the facades which were his last, joyous work, Hirst painted reality - like the many gold doors derived from Spanish architecture, or the ruined armchairs found in a Yorkshire field, or the Sussex seascapes where he came to live. But with immaculate craftsmanship and superb command of colour, he turned the real into near-abstraction of great psychological force. For much of his life, he was beset by grave illness, painful surgery and debilitating therapy. These traumas only strengthened his will to work. Much of the result portrayed entrances and exits, like the wonderful striped paintings from which the cover of this book was chosen. The artist sadly passed away during the production of this book.