For an artist, time can always be regained . . . because by an act of imagination you can always go back.
One of England’s most celebrated contemporary painters, Howard Hodgkin (1932–2017) was deeply attuned to the interplay of gesture, color, and ground. His brushstrokes, set against wooden supports, often continue beyond the picture plane and onto the frame, breaking from traditional confines. Embracing time as a compositional element, his work is testament to his immersion in the intangibility of thoughts, feelings, and fleeting private moments.
Hodgkin was born in London and grew up in Hammersmith Terrace. During World War II he was evacuated to Long Island, New York, for three years. In the Museum of Modern Art, New York, he saw works by School of Paris artists such as Henri Matisse, Édouard Vuillard, and Pierre Bonnard, which he could not easily have seen then in London or Paris. Back in England in 1943, Hodgkin ran away from Eton College and Bryanston School, convinced that education would impede his progress as an artist, though he encountered inspiring teachers at both schools. He then attended Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts (1949–50) and Bath Academy of Art, Corsham (1950–54).
Hodgkin never belonged to a school or group. While many of his contemporaries were drawn to Pop or the School of London, he remained independent, initially marking his outsider status with a series of portraits of contemporary artists and their families. His first solo exhibition was at Arthur Tooth and Sons in London in 1962. Two years later he first visited India, following his interest in Indian miniatures, which began during his time at Eton. Collecting Indian art would remain a lifelong passion, which he initially supported by dealing in picture frames.
In 1984 Hodgkin represented Britain at the Biennale di Venezia. His exhibition Forty Paintings reopened the Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 1985, and he won the Turner Prize the same year. In 1998 Hodgkin joined Gagosian, and the gallery presented his first show in the United States since his critically acclaimed 1995–96 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, which had traveled to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf; and Hayward Gallery, London. His first full retrospective opened at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, in 2006 and traveled to Tate Britain, London, and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. In the autumn of 2016 Hodgkin visited India for what was to be the last time, completing six new paintings before his return to London. These works were shown at England’s Hepworth Wakefield in 2017, in Painting India, a show that focused on the artist’s long-standing relationship with the Indian subcontinent.
Starting in the 1950s, Hodgkin maintained a parallel printmaking practice, translating his visual language into works on paper. Exploring the interactions of color and space on a grander scale, he produced theatrical set designs for Ballet Rambert, the Royal Ballet, and the Mark Morris Dance Group. His black stone and white marble mural fronts the British Council’s headquarters in New Delhi. Additionally, Hodgkin designed a stamp for the Royal Mail to mark the millennium; textiles for Designers Guild; and posters and prints for the Olympic Games in Sarajevo, London, Sochi, and Rio de Janeiro.
Hodgkin was knighted in 1992 and made a Companion of Honour in 2003. He was awarded the Shakespeare Prize in Hamburg in 1997, and in 2014 won the first Swarovski Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon award.
June 1–July 28, 2018
Grosvenor Hill, London
In the Pink
January 19–March 11, 2017
May 5–June 18, 2016
980 Madison Avenue, New York
November 28, 2014–January 31, 2015
Davies Street, London
Extended through August 22, 2014
June 13–August 22, 2014
March 15–May 4, 2013
November 3–December 23, 2011
980 Madison Avenue, New York
Seven New Paintings
December 5, 2009–January 23, 2010
Davies Street, London
Layla and Majnun
A celebrated collaboration between Sir Howard Hodgkin and choreographer Mark Morris. Nancy Dalva takes us behind the scenes.
Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends
In this video interview, National Portrait Gallery senior curator Paul Moorhouse explains how Hodgkin increasingly abstracted what people meant to him, representing people in his pictures through memories, evocations, and feelings.
Howard Hodgkin From London to Hong Kong
In Howard Hodgkin: From London to Hong Kong, we are welcomed into the celebrated painter’s London studio. Narrated by Robin Vousden.
Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now
In partnership with English Heritage
Thursday, April 25, 2019, 6pm
Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London
Gagosian director and art historian Richard Calvocoressi will lead a tour of the exhibition Visions of the Self: Rembrandt and Now at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London. Calvocoressi will take a look at postwar and contemporary masters of self-representation, anchoring the conversation to an important Rembrandt masterpiece included in the exhibition, Self-Portrait with Two Circles (c. 1665). The event has reached capacity. To join the wait list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-Portrait with Two Circles, c. 1665, English Heritage, The Iveagh Bequest (Kenwood, London). Photo: Historic England Photo Library
Layla and Majnun
November 13–17, 2018
Sadler’s Wells, London
In this inspired adaptation of Layla and Majnun, the ancient Persian narrative poem of star-crossed lovers, contemporary choreographer Mark Morris has collaborated with the late Howard Hodgkin, who designed the bold costumes and set, and the Silkroad Ensemble. To attend the event, purchase tickets at www.sadlerswells.com.
To learn more about the collaboration read the interview with Hodgkin by Nancy Dalva in the Summer 2017 issue of Gagosian Quarterly.
Artwork © Howard Hodgkin
Art Basel Miami Beach
December 6–9, 2018, booth D7
Miami Beach Convention Center
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Miami Beach 2018 with modern and contemporary artworks by Georg Baselitz, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Joe Bradley, Glenn Brown, John Chamberlain, Dan Colen, John Currin, Urs Fischer, Katharina Grosse, Mark Grotjahn, Andreas Gursky, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Vera Lutter, Man Ray, Peter Marino, Takashi Murakami, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Jenny Saville, Rudolf Stingel, Tatiana Trouvé, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, and Jonas Wood, among others.
Jeff Koons, Ode to Love, 2010–17 © Jeff Koons
India on Paper
October 14, 2017–January 7, 2018
Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, England
This unique exhibition celebrates the artist’s love affair with India, which he visited for the first time in 1964. The trip was a revelation, and he returned almost every year thereafter. This exhibition features a range of Hodgkin’s Indian-themed works on paper, including gouache paintings, editioned prints, and hand-colored impressions made over half a century.
Howard Hodgkin, Mumbai Wedding, 1990–91
© Howard Hodgkin
July 1–October 8, 2017
The Hepworth Wakefield, England
The Hepworth Wakefield stages the first comprehensive exhibition to explore the enduring influence of India on Hodgkin’s work, a place the artist returned to almost annually following his first trip there in 1964. On display are more than thirty-five works, rarely seen photographs from his personal archive, and journals Hodgkin kept documenting his journeys in India.
Howard Hodgkin, Hello, Bombay, 2016 © Howard Hodgkin. Photo by Prudence Cuming Associates LTD
March 23–June 18, 2017
National Portrait Gallery, London
Hodgkin’s paintings are characterized by rich color, complex illusionistic space, and sensuous brushwork. By emphasizing these pictorial elements, his work frequently appears entirely abstract. However, over the course of sixty-five years, a principal concern of Hodgkin’s art has been to evoke a human presence. The role of memory, the expression of emotion, and the exploration of relationships between people and places are all preoccupations. The exhibition explores Hodgkin’s development of a personal visual language of portraiture, one that challenges traditional forms of representation.
Howard Hodgkin, Portrait of the Artist Listening to Music, 2011–16 © Howard Hodgkin