20th Century Artists


Howard Hodgkin

Sir Gordon Howard Eliot Hodgkin was born in 1932 and was educated at Bryanston School in Dorset. He then studied at the Camberwell Art School and later at the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham, where Edward Piper studied drawing under him. His first solo show was in London in 1962.

His early paintings tend to be made up of hard-edged curved forms in a limited number of colours. Around the beginning of the 1970s, his style became more spontaneous, with vaguely recognisable shapes presented in bright colours and bold forms. His works might be called "semi-abstract", In the mid 1970s Hodgkin adopts wooden panel and frame, defining painting as object, and through to the later, looser and more gestural paintings of the 1990s.

Hodgkin's paintings often seek to convey memories of encounters with friends and frequently carry titles alluding to specific places and events such as Dinner at West Hill (1966) and Goodbye to the Bay of Naples (1980–82). Hodgkin himself has said that he paints "representational pictures of emotional situations".

Despite their apparent spontaneity and usually small scale, many of Hodgkin's paintings take years to complete, with him returning to a work after a wait and then changing it or adding to it.

His work has been shown around the world and is included in many international museum collections. The first retrospective of his work was shown in 1976 at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, though major exhibitions of recent works were seen in London at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1985 and at the Hayward Gallery in 1996. His many professional positions have included teaching at Chelsea from 1966 – 72, Trustee of the Tate Gallery 1970 – 76 and of the National Gallery from 1978 – 85. He represented Britain at the 1984 Venice Biennial, was awarded the Turner Prize in 1985 and knighted in 1992. In 2003 he was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II as a Companion of Honour. A major exhibition of his work was held at Tate Britain, London, in 2006.

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