In exploring the very nature of painting both as cultured language and sheer expression, Hodgkin disregards the classical polarities of abstraction and representation, past and present, canvas and frame. Assertive compressed gestures, sweeping complex textures, a lush palette, and the dynamic interchange of light and dark are all traits of his distinctive signature. With their maximalist gestures and saturated colors, his more intimately scaled paintings appear jewel-like, while larger works are opulent and theatrical. With incorporated frames and painted wooden supports, they operate as both objects and images. Embracing spontaneity and directness in equal measure to the processes of reflection and capitulation, it may take a year for Hodgkin to prepare to execute a single brushstroke. The seemingly casual, urgent quality of his paintings belies the fact that most of them have been worked on for two or three years. More than ever they convey the relationship between hand, eye, and memory that drives their process, visual structure, and emotional temperature.
Howard Hodgkin was born in 1932 in London, England. He attended the Camberwell School of Art, England, from 1949 to 1950, and Bath Academy of Art, England, from 1950 to 1954. His first retrospective was curated by Nicholas Serota at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, in 1976. Major museum exhibitions include “Paintings 1975–1995,” Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1995, traveled to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Kunstverein für die Reinlände und Westfalen, Germany; and Hayward Gallery, London, through 1996); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2002); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2006, traveled to the Tate Britain, London; and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, through 2007); “Paintings: 1992–2007,” Yale Center for British Art, New Haven (2007, traveled to the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, England); “Time and Place,” Modern Art Oxford, United Kingdom (2010, traveled to De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, The Netherlands; and San Diego Museum of Art, California, through 2011); Fondation Bemberg, France (2013); “Made in Mumbai,” Curator’s Gallery at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai (2016); and “Absent Friends,” National Portrait Gallery, London (2017). Hodgkin was knighted in 1992, awarded the Shakespeare Prize in Hamburg in 1997, and made a Companion of Honor in 2003.
Hodgkin died March 9, 2017 in London, England.
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
From the Quarterly
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.
Fairs, Events & Announcements
Mayfair Art Weekend
Howard Hodgkin Pop-up Bookshop
June 29–July 1, 2018
Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London
Throughout Mayfair Art Weekend, Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London, will host a pop-up bookshop in conjunction with the exhibition Howard Hodgkin: Last Paintings. It will feature a selection of illustrated exhibition catalogues and books on the artist. Visitors will also be able to see the exhibition through the weekend, alongside Franz West: Sisyphos Sculptures at Gagosian, Davies Street, London.
Layla and Majnun
October 26–29, 2017
Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, New York
This timeless story of impossible love emerges from the cultural intersections along the Silk Road. Star-crossed lovers Layla and Majnun are central characters in Persian and Arabian folklore and the subject of the first Muslim opera written more than a century ago. This inspired adaptation by choreographer Mark Morris features bold costumes and set design by the late Howard Hodgkin. Purchase tickets at www.lincolncenter.org
Artwork © Howard Hodgkin. Photo: Mat Hayward
Gagosian App for iPad
Gagosian announces the release of issue 3 of the Gagosian App for iPad on January 22, 2012. Artists featured in this issue include Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Paul Noble, Richard Prince, Jenny Saville, Richard Serra, Andy Warhol, and Zeng Fanzhi.
In issue 3 we feature a Damien Hirst “art board” that explores more than ninety spot paintings, offer a 360˚ full-motion interactive experience of Richard Serra sculptures Junction (2011) and Cycle (2010), and display a worldwide map of the Jeff Koons’s Celebration series exhibition history. We also explore a recent essay by Olivier Zahm on the exhibition Warhol: Bardot with interactive “pop-up” images, audio, and video content, show you an exclusive video of Richard Prince: Bel-Air installed at a private residence in 2011, and give you an in-depth look at Roy Lichtenstein’s working process and his series Landscapes in the Chinese Style.
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