Howard Hodgkin: Memories

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Howard Hodgkin: Memories

Howard Hodgkin: Memories

Paintings 1978–1999

Howard Hodgkin: Memories

Paintings 1978–1999

This catalogue accompanies the exhibition Howard Hodgkin: Memories, and explores the art of Howard Hodgkin (1932–2017), who is widely regarded as one of the leading British

Paintings 1978–1999

painters of the last fifty years. Described by the eminent art critic Robert Hughes as ‘a colourist unsurpassed among living painters’, during a seventy-year career Hodgkin forged a deeply personal visual language in which colour, brushwork and mark-making evoke memories and their associated emotions. Bringing together nineteen of the artist’s most distinctive paintings, Howard Hodgkin: Memories focuses on the 1980s and 1990s, two decades during which Hodgkin’s art attained the stylistic maturity and expressive vitality that secured international recognition.

Containing an essay and biographical survey by the exhibition’s curator Paul Moorhouse, this publication considers the wide-ranging nature of Hodgkin’s subject matter which provided the context for the ‘emotional situations’ that Hodgkin recalled in paintings of compelling expressive presence.



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Howard Hodgkin: Memories Paintings 1978–1999


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Howard Hodgkin: Memories Paintings 1978–1999

Curated by Paul Moorhouse

1 October - 11 December 2020

HAZLITT HOLLAND-HIBBERT 38 Bury Street St James’s London SW1Y 6BB +44 (0) 20 7839 7600




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Introduction James Holland-Hibbert




oward Hodgkin’s work does not typically define that of an abstract artist in that he never painted a picture which did not have a subject or visual experience, a memory or associated emotion. His achievement was being able to rely primarily on colour, through the vital and versatile medium of oil paint, to convey feeling and emotion from a fleeting and often very intimate experience. Although the titles give a clue to the moment or encounter the pictures are not easy to read at first glance. Instead they evoke a deeply personal visual language in which colour and brushwork encourage the viewer to ‘look’ rather than ‘explain’. Some are bold, others are calm; some are strongly coloured, others are more subtle. But always they provide a sensation. In conversation Hodgkin once said ‘I don’t believe in programme notes or explanations for paintings since they come between the audience and the picture. I want people to look at my pictures as pictures, as things’. This provides no better reason than to celebrate the act of painting by exhibiting nineteen of the artist’s most distinctive works and allowing them to speak for themselves.

Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert is very proud to have the opportunity to show these works selected from a period when Hodgkin secured international recognition and firmly established himself as one of the leading painters of his generation. My colleague, Rosalie Savory, has been largely responsible for putting the exhibition together along with the help of Guy Robertson and Matthew Burdis from the artist’s estate. I am enormously grateful also to Robin Vousden, with whom Hodgkin enjoyed a long working relationship, and Antony Peattie without whose blessing the exhibition would never have been possible. An exhibition such as this is only as good as the selection of works and the way they are presented. For that we are forever grateful to all the owners who have generously agreed to lend and to the curator, Paul Moorhouse, whose essay and expertise have been hugely appreciated. It is to him that we owe most credit.


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Howard Hodgkin: In Another Form Paul Moorhouse


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Fig. 1 Tea Party in America, 1948 Fig. 2 Portrait of the Artist Listening to Music, 2011–16


y the time of his death in 2017, Howard Hodgkin had been painting for almost seventy years. His earliest documented work, a small gouache on board titled Tea Party in America, [fig. 1], was completed in 1948, when he was 16 years old. His final large-scale painting, Portrait of the Artist Listening to Music [fig. 2], was finished on the eve of a major retrospective exhibition of his portraits held at the National Portrait Gallery, London. In between, his activity remained more or less continuous. Few works survive from 1950 to 1957, when he was a student at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham and then commenced teaching there; but from the late 1950s onwards his oeuvre unfolded with measured consistency, leading in an apparently seamless progression to several works that were still in progress at the end. The seeming regularity of his output was, however, in some ways deceptive. Hodgkin worked slowly, often taking years to resolve individual paintings; and while his concerns remained fundamentally unchanged, his visual language underwent significant development. ‘I had terrible trouble finding a way of painting’, he recalled. ‘To some extent I found my voice early and knew what I wanted to do. But learning how to do it took longer.’1 The mature voice he eventually attained forms the subject of the present exhibition, and its formation can be dated to the mid-1970s, a period of transition when, as Hodgkin himself remarked, he was ‘beginning to join everything up together.’2 To understand the implications of that advance, it is necessary firstly to dwell for a moment on the way his work had evolved prior to that watershed. The principal characteristics of Hodgkin’s art were clear from the outset, and the most conspicuous of these was his complete commitment to subject matter. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, abstract painting began to


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establish a foothold among a number of Hodgkin’s contemporaries. Robyn Denny, Richard Smith, Bernard Cohen and Anthony Hill were among those within his circle whose work rejected recognisable imagery in favour of non-figurative shapes and colours. Hodgkin was out of step with his peers. Although abstracted, Hodgkin’s paintings retained an allegiance to figurative motifs, a central preoccupation being the depiction of people whose presence is unmistakeable. Even when references to individuals became more difficult to decipher, his art remained rooted in representational imagery. Dispelling any lingering doubts that others may have harboured about his intentions, the titles of his paintings defiantly confirmed the identities of those depicted, their addresses and the human situations evoked. Dinner at West Hill 1963–6 [fig. 3], for example, commemorates a party given by Mr and Mrs Bernard Cohen and is replete with allusive references to the contents and décor of his friends’ home. Facing the rising tide of abstract art, in 1967 Hodgkin could stubbornly assert his own unshakeable ethos: ‘As far as the subjects of my paintings go, they are about one moment in time involving people in relation to each other and also to me.’3 In spite of the difficulties he later claimed to have experienced in the ‘way’ he painted, his outlook was unequivocal: his art had a subject, and this formed its enduring foundation. Throughout the 1960s, Hodgkin’s stated position as a representational painter had a certain obduracy, and over the course of his career his allegiance to making art that was ‘about’ something remained central to his purpose. As late as 2006, he reasserted the core tenet of his work: ‘I am not an abstract painter’.4 However, Hodgkin’s continuing willingness to adapt his means, and to explore other ways of realising his subject, was equally

clear. By the early 1970s, the look of his work had advanced far beyond the bold abstraction from appearances that characterises his early paintings. In a surprising volte face, the figurative description employed in such celebrated paintings as The Tilsons 1965–7 [fig. 4] had been replaced by a visual language that appeared entirely abstract. In Mr and Mrs EJP 1972–3 [fig. 6], for example, the painting’s subject – two important art collectors conversing in the setting of their home – has been rendered solely in terms of a complex arrangement of coloured shapes, lines and spots. Wary as ever of being misunderstood, in 1967 Hodgkin explained the growing formal complexity of his work in the following way: ‘My pictures have become more elaborate because I want them to contain more of the subject’.5 Seeking fuller means of expression, such paintings as Mr and Mrs EJP demonstrate Hodgkin’s employment of a far more sophisticated syntax. But, beyond that, the vocabulary had also changed profoundly, seemingly having shed description. These formal innovations nevertheless remained true to Hodgkin’s ongoing involvement with his paintings’ extra-pictorial significance, and they paved the way for the full maturity to which his art advanced from the middle of the 1970s. Dinner at Smith Square 1975–9 [fig. 5] signalled the new authority that his ‘voice’ now achieved, and it forms a milestone in what is regarded as ‘classic’ Hodgkin. In terms of appearance, Dinner at Smith Square is a world away from the paintings made by Hodgkin only a decade earlier. With its flat, abutting shapes, rhyming patterns and comic-looking characters, The Tilsons 1965–7 has a graphic, cartoonish quality. By contrast, the later painting has evidently begun to plough an entirely different visual furrow. Seemingly devoid of figurative references, the composition comprises


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Fig. 3 Dinner at West Hill 1963–6 Fig. 4 The Tilsons 1965–7

abstract, overlapping forms. These pictorial elements are also much less hard-edged. A new, sensuous application of paint sustains a heightened visual tension between the suggestion of interior space and the painting’s significance as an object in its own right. The surface is overlaid with tactile blobs of pigment, which extend beyond the image area onto the surrounding frame. Hodgkin’s claims about the primary importance of subject matter would appear at odds with the painting’s visual argument, which now seems entirely abstract and emphatically physical. In the face of that contradiction, Hodgkin’s description of his intentions is illuminating. ‘This is a picture’, he observed, ‘of two very old friends of mine talking to each other below a small painting by Bonnard. The husband is on the left of the painting leaning slightly back from the table and his wife sits upright on the other side.’6 Viewed in this light, Hodgkin’s fidelity to his earlier stated subject – ‘people in relation to each other’ – is more deeply ingrained than ever, despite a sea-change in his visual means. To appreciate the continuity that binds the works of Hodgkin’s maturity to their predecessors, and also the radical way that his paintings from the 1980s developed those preoccupations that he established at the outset, it is necessary to explore further the enigmatic ‘subject’ of Hodgkin’s art. As long as his art retained a resemblance to the visible world, its ostensible points of reference were not in doubt. Portraiture and situations involving people dominate Hodgkin’s early work. But when his visual language increasingly shed recognisable motifs, some explanation became necessary, not least because the change he effected in ‘how to do it’ coincided with an expanded range of subject matter. In 1995, he explained that his sources encompassed ‘views through windows,


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landscapes, even occasionally a still-life, to memories of holidays, encounters with interiors and art collections, other people, other bodies, love affairs, sexual encounters and emotional situations of all kinds, even including eating’.7 Evidently, situations involving a human presence had spread to a much wider arena. Nature, objects, travel, habitable spaces and – going a step further in the subject of his relations with other people – erotic experiences were all incorporated within the fabric of his pictures. Significantly, he included ‘emotional experiences of all kinds’. As this list makes clear, Hodgkin’s mature work drew even more deeply on his own life experiences. As a result, his art’s abiding paradox gained in strength. How could paintings so steeped in autobiography express their personal, private and sometimes intimate subject matter when the visual language employed seems entirely non-referential? That conundrum is manifest in a painting such as Clean Sheets 1980–4 [cat. 2], one of Hodgkin’s most assured statements in his new ‘way’ of working, which gained authority from the early 1980s. The painting’s teasing title alludes to a sensual experience, while in visual terms it withholds specifics. Perhaps most surprising is the painting’s capacity to convey a particular, if subliminal, feeling. This is directly related to the way that, as Hodgkin put it, he was beginning to ‘join everything up’. The image is no longer an assemblage of parts. In common with its predecessor Dinner at Smith Square, the later painting presents a seamless pictorial fabric in which brushed passages of colour create an enigmatic interior space inhabited by unrecognisable forms. Denied literal description, yet presented with pictorial events that seem precise, the viewer senses a situation, but cannot identify it.

Having abstracted the look of his early paintings from observation, why did Hodgkin now push them towards a language that appears almost entirely abstract? If his subjects were, as he said, rooted in everyday life, why eliminate depiction? Once again, Hodgkin is a valuable guide on such matters. In 1981, he explained ‘I want to get the evasiveness of reality into my pictures, that kind of glancing, immaterial quality that one does actually see in reality.’8 This is a penetrating insight, for it connects the abstracted, incomplete specification that characterises Hodgkin’s paintings with the actual quality of sight. Our perceptions arise from a succession of fleeting sensations that the mind assembles into coherent images, but visual experience is inherently evanescent. The look of things is forever on the wing, as it were. Subject to constant change, appearances dissolve as soon as they are grasped. Something of that quality is evoked by Hodgkin’s process of abstraction, in which visual experiences are presented in fragmented form, conveying a sense of things glimpsed, tangentially, momentarily and selectively. Mr and Mrs Patrick Caulfield 1967–70 [fig. 7] exemplifies the collage-like nature of Hodgkin’s early manner, in which various recognisable images are mixed up with areas of pure colour. From the 1980s onwards, the ‘evasiveness of reality’ came to dominate Hodgkin’s picture-making, as any remaining familiar motifs were progressively abstracted. Venice Sunset 1989 [cat. 5], for example, preserves just a trace of its observed subject. This, however, is an exception. The works that define Hodgkin’s maturity mainly transformed such literal references, but the reasons for that important step forward were only partly to do with reproducing the evasive character of visual experience. Clues to the elusive character of


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Fig. 5 Dinner at Smith Square 1975–79 Fig. 6 Mr and Mrs EJP 1972–3

Hodgkin’s later work lie deeper, namely in the significance he attached to the vital role of memory. This deep-seated faculty, the nature of which is at once obscure and essential to life, underpinned the growth of Hodgkin’s art from its very beginnings. Its fundamental importance cannot be over-estimated, for its presence both unified his diverse subject matter and directly influenced the distinctive means of expression that he forged. Hodgkin himself acknowledged this. He commented: ‘All these subjects have one thing in common – seen through the eyes of memory they must be transformed into things, into pictures using the traditional vocabulary of painting, where scale and illusionism, among many other ingredients, play their part.’9 Hodgkin’s powers of recollection seem to have been acute, not least in terms of his capacity to visualise the past through the traces it left on his mind. ‘Almost the only skill I have’, he observed, ‘is a strong visual memory, and I can remember what things looked like from long ago.’10 The drawings and gouaches that mark his earliest artistic efforts, notably Memoirs 1949 [fig. 8], testify to that ability. Though characterised by an intense clarity, all these images were separated from the incidents that they depict by the passage of time. Even so, as Hodgkin’s subsequent work progressed, he seems increasingly to have recognised the indeterminate nature of memory: ‘The subject, though anchored to a particular incident, seemed at times almost impossibly nebulous’.11 It would, however, be a mistake to interpret this observation as implying any imprecision in his visual memory. Rather, this telling comment suggests a growing awareness of the extreme difficulty of expressing his recollected experiences with the veracity and fullness that he sought.


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The important interview that Hodgkin conducted with the art critic David Sylvester in 1984 contains the following comment: ‘My pictures are finished when the subject comes back. I start with the subject and naturally I have to remember what it looked like, but it would also perhaps contain a great deal of feeling and sentiment. All of that has got to be somehow transmuted, transformed or made into a physical object’.12 As this observation suggests, memory is not only a visual matter, but also intimately connected with an equally intangible experience, namely emotion. In some deeply mysterious way, which is nevertheless central to our being, we perceive the past through the lens of feeling. The problem this poses for an artist is profound: how to convey in visual terms a subject as ambiguous and insubstantial as memory? Hodgkin’s pictorial response to that question lies at the heart of his mature achievement. The distinctive characteristics of the language he forged during the 1980s and 1990s are immediately apparent, and the developments beyond his earlier work obvious. Interior at Oakwood Court 1983–5 [cat. 1] and Menswear 1980–5 [cat. 3] are exuberant manifestations of Hodgkin’s fascination with ‘paint as substance’.13 In their respective ways, both paintings convey visual experiences that arise directly from the medium itself. Celebrating the versatility of brushwork, each image is traversed by layer upon layer of pigment, from delicate glazes to rich impasto, their surfaces animated by complex colour relationships, both strident and subtle. In this respect, they are an uncompromising affirmation of Delacroix’s famous dictum: ‘The first quality in a painting is to be a delight for the eyes.’14 Even when realised on a more modest scale, as in Leaves 1987–88 [cat. 7], the impression of contained expressive energy is equally palpable. Indeed, when

viewed as a whole, Hodgkin’s painting during these two decades seems to be propelled by some vital instinctive motive. Also evident is the sense that as the direction he had taken gathered momentum, the ambiguous relationship between subject, image and material fact deepened. Despite what appears to be a language of pure abstraction, Hodgkin asserted that ‘they’re much more about myself now, or incidents that have personally involved me’.15 The titles of the paintings bear out that claim, alluding constantly to some implied biographical source – seen, according to artist, through ‘the eyes of memory’. The implication is that visits to Venice (View from Venice 1984–89 [cat. 4]), recollected conversations, (It Can’t Be True 1987–90 [cat. 9]), glimpses of natural phenomena (Small Indian Sky 1990 [cat. 10] and Old Sky 1996–7 [cat. 15]), moments of reflection (After Visiting David Hockney 1991–2, [cat. 11]) and travelling (Going to America 1999 [cat. 19]) are among the numerous private experiences preserved within a body of work whose character is that of a visual diary. ‘My entire life is in my paintings’16, Hodgkin confided. Yet, even as these images emerged, whatever memories they evoked seem couched entirely in colour and the movement of paint. Perplexing though this seems, Hodgkin’s earlier explanation of his conception of memory provides a vital clue. Unlike the images of the past preserved by a camera, memories are not only visual but, as he observed, ‘also perhaps contain a great deal of feeling and sentiment’.17 This view stands at the centre of all Hodgkin’s work and finds its fullest expression in the mature voice he found. Memory is suffused with emotion and for that reason, as Hodgkin noted, ‘to turn it into a picture, one has to go back to the original feeling’.18 With that imperative in mind, the reasons for Hodgkin’s reinvention of his visual language may now be grasped.


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Fig. 7 Mr and Mrs Patrick Caulfield 1967–70 Fig. 8 Memoirs, 1949

The early paintings embroidered his visual memories with expressive characteristics; in the magisterial works of his maturity, visual memories are inseparable from their associated emotions. The two have been ‘transmuted’ as part of his wish to express ‘both at the same time’.19 For as Hodgkin put it, ‘the most complete expression of such a subject would not necessarily involve description.’20 With appearance and emotion the indivisible components of recollection, abstract shapes, colour, and brush marks are their metaphorical expressive equivalents. Perhaps because his art was so deeply rooted in private experience, Hodgkin was reluctant to theorise. Even so, he acknowledged the important role that symbolism came to play, asserting that he was ‘forced into metaphor’.21 Some theoretical vindication of the compulsion he felt to equate his feelings with pictorial fact may therefore be ventured. In the words of Ernst Gombrich: ‘The possibility of metaphor springs from the infinite elasticity of the human mind; it testifies to its capacity to perceive and assimilate new experiences as modifications of earlier ones, of finding equivalence in disparate phenomena and of substituting one for another’.22 In imagination one thing is identified with another, and in some mysterious way the two coalesce. Hodgkin’s conviction about this was unequivocal: ‘the picture is finished when the memory comes back in another form’.23 These words evoke the essence of his art. Transforming his memories meant that the past was never entirely lost but could be redeemed in paint. The works of Hodgkin’s maturity are a lasting testament to that profound achievement.


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Hodgkin quoted in James Meyer, ‘Hodgkin’s Body’, in Howard Hodgkin, ed. Nicholas Serota, Tate Publishing, London, 2006, pp. 21–22


‘Howard Hodgkin Interviewed by David Sylvester’ in Howard Hodgkin: Forty Paintings 1973–84, exhibition catalogue, British Pavilion, XLI Venice Biennale, The British Council & Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1984, p. 97



Hodgkin quoted in David Thompson, ‘Recent British Painting: The Stuyvesant Collection’, in Studio International, vol.174, no.895, December 1967, p. 259 Hodgkin quoted in Imagine: A Portrait of the Painter, a film in the BBC TV series Imagine, directed and produced by Roger Parsons, 2006


Hodgkin quoted in John Russell, ‘Hodgkin Color Locals’, ARTnews 66, May 1967, p. 62


Undated note in the artist’s archives, quoted in Howard Hodgkin: The Complete Paintings, Thames and Hudson, London, in association with The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, 2006, p. 156


John Elderfield and Howard Hodgkin, ‘An Exchange’ in Michael Auping, John Elderfield, Susan Sontag with a catalogue raisonne by Marla Price, Howard Hodgkin Paintings, Thames & Hudson, in association with The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, 1995, p. 69

16 Hodgkin quoted in Marla Price, ‘Introduction to the Catalogue Raisonné, in Howard Hodgkin: The Complete Paintings, op. cit, p. 34


Hodgkin quoted in In Conversation, a film by Judy Marle, Arts Council, 1981,

19 Tusa interview, op. cit.


Elderfield and Hodgkin, op. cit., p. 69

10 Transcript of radio programme, ‘John Tusa Interviews Howard Hodgkin’ in BBC Radio 3 series The John Tusa Interviews, broadcast 7 May 2000 11 Elderfield and Hodgkin, op. cit., p. 80 12 Sylvester interview, op. cit., p. 97 13 Hodgkin quoted in John Elderfield, ‘Mystery in Method’, Howard Hodgkin: The Complete Paintings, op. cit., p. 9

17 Sylvester interview, op. cit., p. 97 18 Sylvester interview, op. cit, p. 98

20 Hodgkin quoted in Jasia Reichardt, ‘On Figuration and Narrative in Art’, in Studio International, vol. 172, no.881, September 1966, p. 140 21 Judy Marle, op. cit. 22 E. H. Gombrich, ‘Visual Metaphors of Value in Art’, in Meditations on a Hobby Horse, Phaidon, Oxford, 1963, p. 14 23 Tusa interview, op. cit.

14 The Journal of Eugene Delacroix, ed. Hubert Wellington, Phaidon, Oxford, 1951, second edition, 1980, p. 414 15 In Conversation, a film by Judy Marle, Arts Council, 1981


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1 Clean Sheets, 1982–84 Oil on wood 22 × 36 inches, 55.9 × 91.4 cm Tate


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2 Menswear, 1980–85 Oil on wood 32¼ × 42½ inches; 82 × 108 cm


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3 View from Venice, 1984–85 Oil on wood 15½ × 18½ inches; 38.5 × 47 cm


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4 The Spectator, 1984–87 Oil on wood 17¾ × 19½ inches; 45 × 49.5 cm


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5 A Pyramid for Antony, 1986–88 Oil on wood 7½ × 9¾ inches; 19.1 × 23.3 cm


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6 Leaves, 1987–88 Oil on wood 19¾ × 25¾ inches; 50.2 × 65.4 cm


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7 Venice Sunset, 1989 Oil on wood 10¼ × 11¾ inches; 26 × 30 cm


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8 In Tangier, 1987–90 Oil on wood 64½ × 70½ inches; 163.5 × 179 cm


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9 It Can’t Be True, 1987–90 Oil on wood 28 × 30¼ inches; 71 × 76.5 cm


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10 Small Indian Sky, 1990 Oil on wood 10¾ × 13¼ inches; 27.5 × 33.2 cm


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11 After Visiting David Hockney, 1991–92 (second version) Oil on wood 19¼ × 24¼ inches; 48.9 × 61.6 cm


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12 Italian Landscape, 1990–91 Oil on wood 14½ × 18½ inches; 36.8 × 46.8 cm


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13 After Degas, 1993 Oil on wood 26 × 30 inches; 66 × 76.2 cm


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14 Chinoiserie, 1994–97 Oil on wood 16¾ × 18 inches; 42.6 × 45.7 cm


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15 In the Middle of the Night, 1996 Oil on wood 11 × 13½ inches; 27.5 × 34.5 cm


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16 Old Sky, 1996–97 Oil on wood 15½ × 17¼ inches; 39.4 × 43.8 cm


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17 Storm, 1996–97 Oil on wood 34½ × 39 inches; 88 × 99 cm


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18 From a Swiss Train, 1996–97 Oil on wood 21½ × 26 inches; 54.9 × 66 cm


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19 Learning About Russian Music, 1999 Oil on wood 22 × 25¾ inches; 55.9 × 65.4 cm


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20 Going to America, 1999 Oil on wood 33 × 39 inches; 83.8 × 99 cm


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Howard Hodgkin Biography 1978 – 1999


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Fig. 1 Exhibition catalogue for The Artist’s Eye, National Gallery, London, 1979 Fig. 2 Hodgkin and Peter Blake in front of Monstro, the whale that swallowed Pinocchio, at Disneyworld, in a photograph taken by David Hockney, 1979

1980 Accompanied by Peter Blake, Hodgkin visits David Hockney in Los Angeles. They visit Disneyland and are photographed by Hockney in front of the Pinocchio exhibit. Hodgkin’s painting DH in Hollywood 1980–4 and his prints David’s Pool 1979–85 and David’s Pool at Night 1985 recall Hodgkin’s experiences during the trip.



Hodgkin becomes a Trustee of the National Gallery, London, and strongly supports the acquisition of Degas’ Helene Rouart in her Father’s Study.

Hodgkin selects work from the National Gallery’s collection for an exhibition in their seriesThe Artist’s Eye. He includes Renoir’s Dancing Girl with Castanets and Dancing Girl with Tambourine, fragments of Manet’s Execution of Maximilian I which were assembled on one canvas (as a previous owner, Degas, had done), as well as works by Tiepolo, Velazquez, Mantegna, Fabritius among others. As part of his brief, which specifies that the selector’s own work is shown, he hangs Dinner at Smith Square 1975–9 and Mr and Mrs E.J.P 1969–73. The exhibition attracts an audience of 165,000 visitors, an attendance figure “equalled only by Titian’s Portraits”, according to director Michael Levey in a letter to Hodgkin dated 28 August 1979.

Having bought a flat in a house near the British Museum the previous year, he would go on to acquire the rest of the building, including the adjacent former dairy, which would become his studio.

Hodgkin’s painting The Moon 1978–80 is shown in the exhibition 1980 Hayward Annual: Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Selected by John Hoyland. Hodgkin exhibits Still Life in a Restaurant 1976–8 in the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition 12, and is awarded second prize.

Fig. 3 Catalogue of the Hayward Annual exhibition selected by John Hoyland, 1980 Fig. 4 Still Life in a Restaurant, 1976–79


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Fig. 5 Poster for Hodgkin’s first exhibition at Knoedler Gallery, New York, 1981

1982 He co-curates, with Geeta Kapur, Six Indian Painters at the Tate Gallery, which includes works by Jamini Roy and Bhupen Khakhar. Indian Leaves opens at the Tate Gallery. The exhibition features a series of works on paper made by Hodgkin in Ahmedabad, created by staining textile dye directly onto newly handmade paper. Howard Hodgkin in Conversation with David Sylvester, a 40 minute Arts Council film by Judy Marle is released; the film also features conversations with Bhupen Khakhar and Foy Nissen.

Hodgkin holds his second exhibition at Knoedler Gallery, New York. Robert Hughes writes a review in Time Magazine, 1982: “His paintings look abstract but are full of echoes of figures, rooms, sociable encounters; they are small, “unheroic” but exquisitely phrased.” 1983 With Terence McInerney, Hodgkin selects 52 16th–19th century works for the Indian Drawings exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London. The catalogue includes commentaries by Hodgkin. He travels to Egypt with McInerney and attends a son et lumiere performance at the pyramids.

1981 London Weekend Television’s South Bank Show devotes an episode to Hodgkin. He designs the sets and costumes for Night Music, choreographed by Richard Alston for Ballet Rambert. Hodgkin holds his first show at Knoedler Gallery. The catalogue includes an essay by Lawrence Gowing, who writes: “Absorbed in the simultaneous flat-and-deep of Hodgkin’s colour one no longer seeks to decode it. One dwells in it for itself; in its presence, one is in its company.”

Hodgkin is included in the exhibition A New Spirit in Painting at the Royal Academy. He is represented by four paintings: Dinner at Smith Square 1975–9; In a French Restaurant 1977–9; The Green Chateau 1976–80; Portrait of Terence McInerney (unfinished) 1980. He gives the William Townsend Memorial Lecture ‘How to be an Artist’ at the Slade School of Fine Art.

Fig. 6 Exhibition catalogue for Six Indian Painters, Tate Gallery, London, 1982 Fig. 7 Card announcing the Arts Council documentary film on Hodgkin by Judy Marle, 1982 68

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He meets Antony Peattie, who would become his life-long partner. Hodgkin takes a studio in Cardiff for five years. Hodgkin’s third show at Knoedler Gallery, New York comprises 12 paintings, including Interior at Oakwood Court 1978–83 [cat. 1] and Clean Sheets 1980–84 [cat. 2]. A conversation with his close friend Patrick Caulfield is published in Art Monthly

He takes part in the The Arts Council touring exhibition, Four Rooms, in which four artists are commissioned to make a room. Hodgkin designs fabric for sofas, chairs and walls, as well as stained plywood tables and bronze lamps, manufactured by Ron Aram Hodgkin is nominated for the first Turner Prize; Son et Lumiere 1983 – 1984 is shown in the Tate Gallery exhibition. The prize is awarded to Malcolm Morley.

Nigel Finch directs a film on Hodgkin for BBC TV’s Arena.

Fig. 8 Installation view of Hodgkin’s exhibition at the British Pavilion at the XLI Venice Biennale, 1984

1984 Hodgkin represents Great Britain at the XLI Venice Biennale with 24 paintings. An extended exhibition, Forty Paintings, then travels to the Philips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Yale Center for British Art, New Haven; the Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover and Whitechapel Gallery, London. The catalogue includes an essay by John McEwen and an interview with David Sylvester in which Hodgkin comments: “To be an honest artist now, you have to make your own language, and for me that has taken a very long time. Gradually, as you make your own language,

the more you learn to do the more you can do, and the more you include….I think for obvious reasons I will never succeed, but I would like to be…a classical artist…where all emotion, all feeling turns into a beautifully articulated anonymous architectural monument at the other end”. The exhibition includes Interior at Oakwood Court 1978–83 [cat. 1], Clean Sheets 1980–84 [cat. 2], Menswear 1980–85 [cat. 3] (exhibited London only) and View from Venice 1984–85 [cat. 4] (exhibited London only).

Fig. 9 Hodgkin and Patrick Caulfield, 1984 Fig. 10 Hodgkin sitting in the room he designed for Four Rooms exhibition, 1984 70

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Hodgkin is awarded the second Turner Prize; A Small Thing But My Own 1983–85 is exhibited.

Hodgkin exhibits 17 new paintings at Knoedler Gallery, New York, including Menswear 1980–85 [cat. 3] and View from Venice 1984–85 [cat. 4].

The Tate Gallery mounts the exhibition Howard Hodgkin: Prints, 1977–1983. Hodgkin participates in the symposium India and Contemporary Art, held at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

He is commissioned by Tricia Guild of Designers Guild to design textiles; Leaf and Large Flower are printed on glazed chintz, Moss and Earth on cotton satin. He works for the first time with the master printmaker Jack Shirreff at 107 Workshop, Wiltshire on a print, Green Room. The partnership continues for the next 24 years.

Fig. 11 Hodgkin receives the Turner Prize from Richard Attenborough, 1985 Fig. 12 Hodgkin’s set designs and costumes for Pulcinella, choreographed by Richard Alston for Ballet Rambert, 1987



Hodgkin designs sets and costumes for Pulcinella, choreographed by Richard Alston for Ballet Rambert.

Hodgkin is appointed Honorary Fellow, Brasenose College, Oxford.

Interior at Oakwood Court 1978–83 [cat. 1] and Menswear 1980–85 [cat. 3] are included in the exhibition British Art in the 20th Century: The Modern Movement, held at the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

He designs the mural, Wave Mosaic, for the swimming pool in the Broadgate Centre (architect Peter Foggo; commissioned by Rosehaugh Stanhope), executed in Venetian glass mosaic. He shows 13 new paintings at Waddington Galleries in his first exhibition in a London commercial gallery since 1971. The show travels to Knoedler Gallery, New York and includes Leaves 1987–8 [cat. 7] and Venice Lagoon 1984–7 [cat. 5]. He is included in Art of Our Time: The Saatchi Collection, held at the Scottish Academy, Edinburgh. Designs the set and costumes for Piano, choreographed by Ashley Page for the Royal Ballet.


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Fig. 13 Poster for the Mostly Mozart Festival, published by Lincoln Centre

Fig. 16 Hodgkin (shown alongside Leaves 1987–8 [cat. 17]) in the Small Paintings touring exhibition, Barcelona

Fig. 14 Hodgkin’s poster, Highgate Ponds, commissioned by London Underground, 1990 Fig. 15 Poster for Indian Paintings and Drawings, published by the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1991

1989 He designs poster for the Mostly Mozart Festival, published by Lincoln Centre.

It Can’t Be True 1987–90 [cat. 9] is included in an exhibition of fourteen new paintings held at Michael Werner gallery, Cologne and Knoedler Gallery, New York.


He makes the poster Highgate Ponds for London Underground.

The British Council exhibition Small Paintings comprises twenty-seven paintings and tours to the Musée des Beaux Arts, Nantes; Caixa de Pensions, Barcelona; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh and Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin. The exhibition includes Clean Sheets 1980–84 [cat. 2], View from Venice 1984–85 [cat. 4], Venice Sunset 1989 [cat. 8], Leaves 1987–8 [cat. 7] and Venice Lagoon 1984–7 [cat. 5].

Commissioned by Chris Corbyn and Jeremy King for their new restaurant The Ivy, he makes Ivy, a large, oval intaglio print at 107 Workshop, Wiltshire.

1991 Hodgkin creates hand-coloured engravings for Susan Sontag’s story The Way We Live Now (first printed in The New Yorker magazine 1986); the prints are published by Karsten Schubert and in facsimile by Jonathan Cape. Proceeds go to Aids charities in Britain and America. He designs a silk scarf for Marion Boulton Stroud’s Fabric Workshop, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is shown in New Dimensions: Artists Design Scarves, held at Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Indian Paintings and Drawings, a selection of works from Hodgkin’s collection, is held at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.; the exhibition tours to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; the Rietberg Museum, Zurich; the British Museum, London and the Museo di Castelvecchio, Verona. 1992 Hodgkin receives a knighthood. The exhibition Seven Small Pictures is held at the British School in Rome and includes View from Venice 1984–9 [cat. 4], Venice Sunset 1989 [cat. 8], Small Indian Sky 1990 [cat. 10] and Italian Landscape 1990–1 [cat. 12].


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1993 Hodgkin, along with Richard Hamilton, Damien Hirst, Michael Landy and others, is invited to make billboard-sized art for the television film Outing Art: the BBC Billboard Art Project, directed by Sheree Folkson; he paints A Small Thing Enlarged as his contribution to the project.

To celebrate his friend Susan Sontag’s 60th birthday, Hodgkin flies to Cairo in order to travel down the Nile. They are accompanied by the photographer Annie Leibovitz.

He creates a mural for the new British Council headquarters in New Delhi, designed by architect Charles Correa. It evokes the shadows cast by a tree and is executed in black stone and white marble. He makes Put Out More Flags, a print to benefit the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s Artists’ Fund.

Fig. 18 Poster for The Way We Live Now, published 1992 Fig. 19 Hodgkin with Annie Leibovitz and Susan Sontag, Egypt, 1993

Fig. 17 Hodgkin’s mural design for the new British Council Headquarters in New Delhi, 1992


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1995 – 1996


38 works are featured in Howard Hodgkin: Paintings 1975 – 1995, a major retrospective exhibition of Hodgkin’s work held at the Metropolitan Museum, New York; the Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth; the Kunstverein fur die Rheinlände und Westfalen, Düsseldorf and the Hayward Gallery, London. The catalogue features essays by Michael Auping and Susan Sontag, an exchange of letters with John Elderfield and the first catalogue raisonné by Marla Price. The selection includes Venice Sunset 1989 [cat. 8], It Can’t Be True 1987–90 [cat. 9] and After Degas 1993 [cat. 13].

Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield and Howard Hodgkin: Paintings from the 60s and 70s opens at Waddington Galleries, London. The Kunsthalle, Winterthur exhibits Hodgkin’s Venice prints in a space shared with Anya Gallaccio. He makes a series of hand coloured etchings to accompany Julian Barnes’s short story ‘Evermore’, first printed in Cross Channel, published by Palavan Press and in paperback by Penguin. A.M.Homes interviews Hodgkin for Artforum. He is the subject of a second film for London Television’s The South Bank Show.

Fig. 20 Installation view of Hodgkin’s exhibition at Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London, 1993

Fig. 21 Installation view of Hodgkin’s exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995

He holds his first show at Anthony D’Offay Gallery, London, which travels to Knoedler Gallery, New York. Among the 24 paintings shown, are: After Degas 1993 [cat. 13], Venice Sunset 1989 [cat. 8] and Italian Landscape 1990–1 [cat. 12]. The catalogue publishes a conversation with the artist, which includes the observation “I am happy for people to talk about my pictures, but I wish devoutly that I was not expected to talk about them myself.” Hodgkin’s choice of extracts from Julian Barnes, Susan Sontag, Stendhal, Anita Brookner, Henry James, Virginia Woolf, G.K.Chesterton, Bruce Chatwin, Evelyn Waugh and Horace Walpole are also featured.


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He is interviewed for BBC Radio 3 program Nightwaves. The Tate Gallery uses Hodgkin’s Rain 1984–9 on the poster to advertise the launch of New Displays, the re-hang of the gallery’s collections. 1994 The first monograph on Hodgkin’s work appears, written by Andrew Graham-Dixon. Hodgkin is interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.


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Fig. 22 Sheet of stamps designed by Hodgkin for the Royal Mail Millennium Stamp commission, 1999



Hodgkin is the recipient of the Shakespeare Prize, awarded by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation, Hamburg; previous holders of the award include Graham Greene, Julian Barnes, Dame Janet Baker, David Hockney and Philip Larkin.

Hodgkin shows twenty-two paintings at Anthony D’Offay Gallery, London.

He receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Birmingham.

He designs the backcloth for Holst’s opera Savitri, staged in the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.

12 paintings are exhibited at Galerie Lawrence Rubin, Zurich. He is interviewed by William Feaver for ‘Mind’s Eye’, and talks about Mondrian, Sickert, Liotard, Matisse and Degas.

He is commissioned to make a design for photographic enlargement to cover the outside wall of the new circular Imax Cinema on Waterloo Roundabout, London.

He designs the backcloths for Mark Morris Dance Group’s Rhymes with Silver.

The Royal Mail commissions Hodgkin to produce a design for its new 64p millennium stamp.

He is appointed honorary fellow of the London Institute, and awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Oxford.

1998 Hodgkin holds his first exhibition with Gagosian Gallery at Madison Avenue. Among the thirteen works shown are: Chinoiserie 1994–7 [cat. 14], Old Sky 1996–7 [cat. 15], Storm 1996–7 [cat. 16] and From a Swiss Train 1996–7 [cat. 17] An exhibition of new paintings is held at Haas & Fuchs Gallery, Berlin.


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How To Be An Artist Howard Hodgkin


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have often said, in the way one does, when asked the question, ‘When did you first want to be an artist?’ ‘Well, I’ve wanted to be a painter since the age of five.’ When thinking about what I was going to say, I wondered why I particularly chose that date, other than the fact that I told someone at the time. And I think it was because of the picture over the mantelpiece that I became aware, at a very early age – as I am sure did everybody in this room – of pictures as things like tables, chairs, cups and saucers and so on. That conviction about the nature of pictures has perhaps saved me, helped me and protected me since. But to revert to the title of this lecture for a moment, I should perhaps have added ‘How to be an artist in England’, because to be an artist in England is perhaps, even certainly, special – more difficult, more traumatic and probably more fraught with the absolute certainty of failure than in any other country. I came from a fairly but not very wealthy middle-class background of the kind in which relatives help pay for your education; the picture over the mantelpiece in my parents’ house was in fact a doubtful water-colour by David Cox which was a wedding present from a judge. I was worried about the paid-for education (which thanks to the accident of war took place partly and at much greater expense in America) and every school that I was sent to, I eventually ran away from. When finally I was inevitably sent to a doctor because it was thought I must be disturbed having run away by that time from five schools, always giving the reason I had left that I wanted to be an artist, they said, ‘Clearly something wrong with the boy’, I was sent to a nice doctor. He was an extraordinary man and it is the only time I have been in a house filled with both original and imitation Frank Brangwyns. Thanks to him I got back to America and my real career as a painter began – by looking at pictures in New York.

But of course, coming back to England, I had to run the gauntlet of art school. Art school in England is different from art school anywhere else. To go to an English art school is like going into some kind of limbo, which is not like going to a monastery, not like going back to boarding school, but it is I think both totally destructive and the main reason why to be an artist in England is rather like being squeezed out of the wrong end of a tube of toothpaste. Once you cross the threshold of an art school, you are not in the real world but nor are you really of course in the academic world because nobody in an art school knows what to ask for in the way of instruction and nobody teaching knows quite what is expected of them to teach. There are no recognised skills that can be passed on and although this is obviously the grossest generalisation, for the most part it is true. There is no point of reference which has anything to do with the outside world at all. It was more than thirteen years of teaching in art schools before I realised quite what it was. I could never understand why the kind of pictures that people painted in art schools were not pictures. I could not understand why they had no edges, they had no scale, they had no proportion, they were not about anything. They were full of hope and aspiration perhaps, often they were imitations of art on the outside but they were extraordinarily unfulfilled in that role. I remember berating students: ‘Don’t you realise that scale and proportion, the relation to form and content is the most important part of all art, the one hardest to talk about but the one you should be thinking and feeling about?’ They would look at me very blankly and say, ‘Well, what should I do over here, or what do you think of this?’ and of course I couldn’t say because there was no context in which I could explain. In an art school, a picture is not a picture, there are no artists, there are no art teachers because the art teachers are pretending to be artists and the students are pretending to be artists, so there are no students, no


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teachers, no audience and no walls. You see a wall in an art school is not like a wall outside, it is an art school wall. An audience that looks at a picture or a piece of sculpture, within such an institution, is in a special position. The people who make these works, at least in France, call them life studies – academies – there is no word for the sort of things that people make in art schools here. But it is a real problem. Nobody knows what to do, so this awful kind of incestuous lock seems to occur between the students and the staff that sometimes results in a kind of bored copulation between middle-aged staff and some of the students but nothing more valuable or viable comes out of it. Thus the students and the teachers are isolated from the world outside. The more radical students try to escape by taking rooms outside, as I did when I was a student and they work away but even so they know that they have a captive audience, they know that they have colleagues, they know that they are not alone and they know that the audience that they may not even want is actually paid to look at what they do. An amazing situation, so unlike the real world. But probably worse is the effect of art schools on the people who teach in them. A very distinguished English artist said to me once: ‘I wonder what the art dealers of London would do if there were no art schools. They might have to support artists.’And on the whole artists are in fact supported by the art schools. They have a lifestyle which comes from having a regular income; if they are really diligent and committed to their quasi-social role they will end up with a pension. But so many of them have said to me: ‘But really you see it’s my work, I can’t stop teaching because I’ve got to pay for my studio and then I wouldn’t be able to travel and so on’. So life goes on. And they become members of society, in a different sense. Now, it may sound like an attack on them but it is


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not intended in that particular way. I just wish, devoutly, as a painter that people who were art teachers would feel proud of the fact, would believe in being art teachers, as professors and teachers of other subjects believe in theirs. I wish they were not ashamed of it, that they could be like music teachers or dance teachers or drama coaches who do not feel that they have to pretend that they are also performing artists. Because artists are performers, they may be slowed up, they may have to cry on the night once every two years, or three years or five years but they have to do it, they have to feel to order and they will have to feel to order in such a way that the audience will react and in the end that the audience will pay. So to be an artist means a lot of things that I am sure a lot of people here already know but it means that you have to look after yourself in whatever way you can. We are lucky in some ways for I know that sculptors have all kinds of logistic problems that painters do not, but we have to look after ourselves, we have to build up a reservoir of feeling which is real but which can be tapped on demand. We have to criticise ourselves, we have to be our own audience and our own patrons until somebody else does that for us. This is perhaps becoming more autobiographical than I meant it to be but I remember that shock of total incomprehension when I was told by an art teacher, and I was very lucky in my art teachers, in fact I have been very lucky as an artist altogether, when I was about sixteen: ‘You know, when somebody buys a picture by Cézanne they don’t buy a picture of some apples, they don’t buy a picture of Mont Ste Victoire or Madame Cézanne or whatever, they buy a Cézanne. And I thought, how peculiar. It took me nearly twenty years to realise what that meant. And if for a minute anyone of you can imagine yourself in that position (at least Cézanne was dead when it happened ot him) it is not a very easy or very comfortable position to be in.

Now how does one make the transition from the protected world of an art school, which is a unique situation in England because we have more art schools per head than any other country, even now, from this extraordinarily protected environment, where you have colleagues, an audience even, little though it is, out into a world where nobody really wants what you do. And if you succeed at all, if after a while you manage to get your work shown, it will probably be to an audience which is for the most part indifferent unless it looks like something else, and if it looks like something else it will be dismissed as a poor example of that but at least it will be noticed which of course is what, as performing artists, we all long for, some little whisper back to keep you slogging along. It has got plenty of rewards. Lots of money, strictly limited. I have here a rubric of what to say, cynical advice on dealers, collectors and museums. Collectors should be loved, admired, nurtured, flattered and crept to. They are probably the only people in the art world worth really taking seriously; however ridiculous they may be personally, they are for real. They do not want to make money out of you, they actually in some curious obscure possibly even perverse way want to love you or at least want to love your work. People in museums beware of; it is a great mistake to think that the effect of museums on an artist’s life is more than transient unless you are the kind of artist who has a certain rhetorical view of yourself. Public art in this country, like patronage, has not been a great success nor has, with obvious exceptions, political art. There are very sound reasons. Society abandoned visual art such a very long time ago in a very straight-forward manner. We are on our own and when suddenly people say: ‘Make us a poster for Oxfam, make us a something for this or that charity’, already the artist is in a slightly false position. People

point so often, when one says this, to Guernica and there are, in fact, many other less grand exceptions, but I do not think the exception proves the rule, unfortunately. Artists have to look after themselves and they have to make their audience themselves. So what to do? How do you get this poor student, who has been isolated from society at public expense for several years, into the real world? How can anyone be so insane as to produce work that nobody wants and expect people to love them and admire them for doing it? It is no good saying that quality will out. Look at how much bad art is extremely successful. I think that the first half of the twentieth century has in fact been one of the great periods for visual art but you could leave out a few names and it could be made to look quite the opposite. So I move on to inspiration. How does an artist, who is not required to paint still lifes, girlfriends, boyfriends, horses, flower pieces, religious subjects, expect to get started? He does not have to be an expressionist, he has to have a bolt of feeling hitting him on the side of his head or, depending on the kind of artist he is, some kind of moral enlightenment which would adjust him to his lonely role in society – the fact that nobody really wants to know. The social position of artists at this period is vulnerable in two particular ways. One is vanity, which has always been a great help but now perhaps goes the other way because it has no answering vanity from the patron to keep it in check. The other is moral superiority, which I find much more unattractive. If you look around you there are a lot of artists, many of whom make quite a lot of money out of moral superiority and I think it’s hard on people who are kind and generous and buy our pictures, that they should be given a rather moth-eaten moral superiority for their money.


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I would say that if you could somehow live a life where feeling, real human emotion that you might actually share with the person next to you in the outside world, is more important to you than either vanity or moral superiority, if you could somehow keep that alive you might just possibly have a chance of fuelling what you do. Because the further great problem of how to be an artist is how to go on being an artist. Being an Englishman, I always think we have more hopeless cases of people who paint three great pictures and then fall into premature middle age. The history of British art in the twentieth century contains a dangerous number of artists who, I think, failed to be great artists because they suffered from some curious moral disease. I think the moral superiority in their heads concealed from them the moral failing in their hearts and so they went on churning it out. And you can find work by such artists that is perhaps the best you could possibly imagine at a certain date, but within a two year period they can have gone downhill never to be able to walk again. Now I want to discuss what I really came here to talk to you about tonight, which has never failed to touch an audience. I want to talk to you about money. I was once asked to give a talk at the Royal College of Art and they thought I was going to show slides of my pictures, and when I got there, I said: ‘You know I told you why I was coming, I’ve come to talk about money.’ They raised the blinds a little bit and turned off the epidiascope and I stood there and I started talking about money. There was an extraordinary emanation from the audience. I kept trying to get further and further back against the wall as I talked desperately about Michelangelo and money and Titian and money and Van Gogh and money, but it was still like an obscenity to these people. The next day I went to an opening at the Whitechapel Gallery and a


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very elegant young man came up to me and said, ‘You are Howard Hodgkin aren’t you?’ and I said: ‘Yes, I think so’ and he said, ‘You know until four o’clock yesterday afternoon, I thought you were one of the hopes of British art, I now think you are obscene.’ But I have tried to talk about money and art in various places, including both India and Australia and I think it is of supreme importance. Because if you are wondering how to be an artist the most important thing of all is that you should be paid for doing it. But never, whatever anyone does for you, feel grateful. The gratitude is all on the other side. Whatever you do, however unsuccessful, however creepy, mendacious, self-serving, aesthetically indefensible, morally wrong, however bad an artist you are in fact, never feel grateful when people buy your pictures, never feel grateful when people say nice things about them. Somebody once wrote something very nice about my pictures at a moment, one among many, when I was feeling very depressed about them and I thanked him for writing something so nice, and he quite rightly said: ‘Never thank a critic’. I think one of the problems of being an artist in England is that one is expected to be grateful, because it is not unreasonable on the part of the people who expect it because what we do is not required. So if by one’s own efforts and other peoples’ one grabs an audience, if one paints a picture that people actually want to look at, if you paint a picture people actually want to buy, you expect to be all Uriah Heepish: thank you, thank you, so pleased you like it, how kind and so on and so on – which takes me back to money. Artists like actors, dancers and musicians are very greedy for money, they need it. To be an artist you have to feel, you have to have sensations, then you have to make them into something and then finally you need to be paid for doing it. If somebody buys what you do, they may be

buying it for completely the wrong reasons but for the painter who is working away in isolation when someone actually buys what you do it is an affirmation, for you get very little applause. I used to be jealous of people who worked in the theatre, because they came and danced around and everyone clapped…wonderful! But of course they are very jealous of artists because they think artists get paid a lot more money and they are much freer and are not doing other people’s work for them. All the same, artists think of money as freedom – it means you can paint another picture or maybe three or four or you could go to the bad, in order to get inspired to paint several more – which is perhaps most important of all. But also it is admiration, it is applause. Picasso was a multimillionaire when he remarked, ‘One thing that’s still got me by the throat,’ (I have forgotten how old he was, but he was in his seventies when he said this), ‘is money’. And that was not because he had all these children to keep or girlfriends or whatever. It was because he wanted something coming in to him from outside. He was not an English artist and he had not been isolated in an art school for the most formative period of his life and had not thought of love as something that took place in a building without walls, hung with pictures that were not pictures, in the company of people who were neither artists nor teachers, so he had a slight edge. Now I have probably said too much, but still not enough about money: the great thing about money and art in England is that if you are old enough – it is always bad to be a middleaged artist in England, which is why I am going to try and avoid it. To be an old artist is usually quite good. People do not look at what you do anymore but they do give you money for it. They even give you quite fat catalogues. Now, the last thing I am going to talk about is inspiration. Have you got a vague picture of this already socially

disadvantaged, lonely character, who is greedy for money and has all kinds of bad habits from being cut off from society? Well, how can somebody who is so socially disadvantaged become inspired in any way that will have meaning to the world outside him? A very difficult thing. There are several possibilities. One might be to make sure that you have lots of enemies as well as friends (anger is often very useful for people who work on their own). It is a way of connecting: neurosis is something to cultivate and mutual resentment is very useful if you are married. Finally it is very important, considering your circumstances, to make sure that you draw in somebody from outside and if you have been working away in your lonely room, that is not always very easy to do. Family life is to be avoided after a certain age: it is all right when you are young because it gives you necessary company, but once you reach a certain age it is probably more destructive than anything else. I have written something down here which is extraordinarily trite but which I totally believe: ‘Art is never therapy except for the spectator.’ That includes of course critics, dealers and collectors. And last of all is: ‘Artistically you always get what you want’. So be careful! So now you know not how to be an artist, but what it’s like.

The William Townsend Memorial Lecture,given by Howard Hodgkin at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London, on 15 December 1981. An edited transcript from a tape recording was published in the Burlington Magazine, 7 September 1982.


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Hodgkin Exhibitions



Solo and Group, 1978 – 1999


January: Howard Hodgkin: Opera Grafica 1977–1983, Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna, Bologna, organised by The British Council

December – January 1978: Howard Hodgkin: New Paintings, Andre Emmerich Gallery, Zurich

1986 May – June: Howard Hodgkin: Recent Work, Knoedler Gallery, New York

1978 Howard Hodgkin: Indian Views: Exhibition of Prints, organised by the British Council, travelling to India, Malaysia & Columbia

May: Howard Hodgkin collection for Designers Guild [four fabrics designed by Howard Hodgkin], Designers Guild, London, travelling to International Contemporary Art Fair, Olympia, London, May – June



April – May: Howard Hodgkin: Paintings 1975–1980, M Knoedler & Co, New York

Howard Hodgkin at Bjorn Olsson Gallery, Björn Olsson Gallery, Stockholm

September: Howard Hodgkin, Macquarie Gallery, Sydney

August – September: Howard Hodgkin: New Paintings, Waddington Galleries, London, travelling to Knoedler Gallery, New York, October – November



April: Howard Hodgkin, Oldham Art Gallery, Oldham

June – September: Howard Hodgkin: Small Paintings 1975–1989, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes, organised by the British Council, travelling to: Centre Cultural de la Caixa de Pensions, Barcelona, October – November; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, December– February 1991; The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin, March – May 1991

August – October: Howard Hodgkin, Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield September – November: Howard Hodgkin: Indian leaves, Tate Gallery, London November – December: Howard Hodgkin, Recent Paintings, M Knoedler & Co, New York

September – October: Howard Hodgkin: Recent Paintings, Michael Werner Gallery, Cologne, travelling to Knoedler Gallery, New York, November – December


November: Howard Hodgkin, Ganz Gallery, Cambridge

February – March: Howard Hodgkin, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Norwich


April – May: Howard Hodgkin: Recent Works, Knoedler Gallery, New York June – September: Howard Hodgkin: Forty Paintings, 1973–1984, British Pavilion, Venice Biennale, Venice, travelling to: The Philips Collection, Washington, October – December 1984; Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut, January – March 1985; Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover, April – May 1985; Whitechapel Gallery, London, September – November 1985 (with ten additional paintings)


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September – December: Howard Hodgkin: Small Format Work, University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, Santa Barbara 1992 March – May: Howard Hodgkin: Seven Small Pictures, The British School at Rome, Rome


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Fig. 1 Installation view of Hodgkin’s exhibition at Knoedler Gallery, New York, 1993



October – November: Howard Hodgkin: Recent Paintings, Anthony d’Offay, London, travelling to Knoedler Gallery, December – January 1994


October – January 1996: Howard Hodgkin: Paintings 1975 to 1996, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, travelling to: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, March – July 1996; Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, August – October 1996; Hayward Gallery, London, December – February 1997 1997

July – September: L’Art anglais d’aujourd’hui: Collection Tate Gallery, Londres, Musée Rath, Geneva

February – April: Aspects of British Art Today, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo, travelling to: Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, Utsunomiya, April – May; National Museum of Art, Osaka, June – July; Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, August; Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Sapporo, September – October

July – August: British Art: 1940–1980, Hayward Gallery, London

April – May: Howard Hodgkin, Norman Adams, Oxford Gallery, Oxford

August – October: Hayward Annual 1980: Contemporary Paintings and Sculpture Selected by John Hoyland, Hayward Gallery, London


November 1980 – February 1981: John Moores Liverpool Exhibition XII, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

January – February: The Granada Collection: Recent British Painting and Drawing, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

March – May: Pictures for an Exhibition, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London March: Mixed Exhibition, Knoedler Gallery, London



September – October: Critic’s Choice, An Exhibition of Contemporary Art Selected by John McEwen, ICA Gallery, London November – December: Howard Hodgkin, Alistair Crawford, Ian Birksted Gallery, London November 1978 – February 1979: John Moores Liverpool Exhibition XI, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool 1979


January: Mixed Exhibition, Knoedler Gallery, London

January – March: A New Spirit in Painting, Royal Academy of Arts, London


April – May: To-day: Brittiskt 60-och 70-tal, Lunds Konsthall, Sweden

February – March: Mixed Exhibition of Small Pictures, Knoedler Gallery, London

May – June: Howard Hodgkin: Paintings, Gagosian Gallery, New York

April – May: European Dialogue: The Third Biennale of Sydney at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

April: Diluted Abstractions: Richard Phipps, Howard Hodgkin, Ivory/Kimpton Gallery, San Francisco

May – June: Toasting, Gardner Art Centre, Brighton

May – August: Alistair Smith, A Personal Selection, Ulster Museum, Belfast

June – August: The Artist’s Eye, An Exhibition Selected by Howard Hodgkin, The National Gallery, London

July – September: New Concepts for a New Art, Toyama Now 81, Museum of Modern Art Toyama, Toyama

September – March 1980: Narrative Painting: Figurative Art of Two Generations selected by Timothy Hyman, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, travelling to: ICA Gallery, London, October – November; City Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, January – February 1980; Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, February – March 1980

December 1981 – February 1982: 13 British Artists: An Exhibition About Painting, Neue Galerie Sammlung Ludwig, Aachen, travelling to: Kunstverein, Mannheim, February – April 1982; Kunstverein, Braunschweig, June – September 1982

April – May: Howard Hodgkin: Recent Work, Galerie Lawrence Rubin, Zurich

September – November: Howard Hodgkin, Lutz & Thalmann, Zürich October – November: Howard Hodgkin: Works on Paper from 1971 to 1995, Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde und Vorgeschichte, Oldenburg, Germany, travelling to Museum der Stadt, Ratingen, December – January 1999 November – December: Howard Hodgkin, Galerie Haas & Fuchs, Berlin 1999 November – January 2000: Howard Hodgkin, Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London

October: Works of the Early ‘60s, Knoedler Gallery, London October – November: This Knot of Life: Paintings and Drawing by British Artists, Part I, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, California November – February 1980: Peter Moores’ Liverpool Project 5: The Craft of Art, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool December – January 1980: British Art Show: Selected by William Packer, Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, organised by the Arts Council of Great Britain, travelling to: Laing Art Gallery & Hatton Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, February – March 1980; Arnolfini Gallery & Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, April – May 1980


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December 1981 – January 1982: A Mansion of Many Chambers: Beauty and Other Works, Cartwright Hall, Bradford, organised by the Arts Council of Great Britain, travelling to: Oldham Art Gallery, Oldham, April – May 1982; Gardner Arts Centre, Brighton, June – July 1982; The Minories, Colchester, July – August 1982; Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, August – October 1982; City Art Gallery, Worcester, November 1982 – January 1983

May – September: Acquisition Priorities: Aspects of Postwar Painting in Europe, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York November – December: Three Little Books About Painting: 2 Movements, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, organised by the Arts Council of Great Britain, travelling to: Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, January; Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Norwich, February – March; Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, Bolton, March – April December: Painting: Gregory Amenoff, Howard Hodgkin, Melissa Miller, Katherine Porter, Joan Thorne, Susan Whyne, Bell Gallery, Providence 1984 February – March: Four Rooms, Liberty’s, London, travelling to: Central Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, April – May; Southampton Art Gallery, Southampton, May – July; Newport Museum & Art Gallery, Newport, July – August; Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen, September – November; Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, October – November May – August: An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York July – August: Summer Selections, M. Knoedler & Co., New York July – September: The Hard-Won Image: Traditional Method and Subject in Recent British Art, Tate Britain, London


October – December: The Turner Prize 1984, Tate Gallery, London

February – April: A Private Vision: Contemporary Art from the Graham Gund Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

November – December: The British Art Show: Old Allegiances and New Directions 1979–1984, City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, travelling to: Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, January 1984 – February 1985; Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, March – May 1985; Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton, May – June 1985


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Fig. 2 Installation view of Hodgkin’s exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London, 1996

November – January 1985: Artist’s Design for Dance 1909–1984, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol December: The Proper Study: Contemporary Figurative Painting from Britain, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, travelling to Jehangir Nicholson Museum of Modern Art, Mumbai, February 1985

March: Current Affairs: British Painting and Sculpture in the 1980s, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, travelling to: Mucsarnok Budapest, Budapest, April – May; Narodni Galerie, Prague, June – August; Zacheta, Warsaw, September – October August – September: Art of Our Time: The Saatchi Collection, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh



September – October: Rocks and Flesh, Norwich School of Art, Norwich

January – May: 1900 to Now: Modern Art from Rhode Island Collections, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

October – December: The Turner Prize 1985, Tate Gallery, London November – January 1986: Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh November – January 1986: Made in India, Museum of Modern Art, New York

February – March: The British Picture, LA Louver Gallery, Venice, California May – August: 1988: The World of Art Today, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee November – January 1989: Director’s Choice, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

1986 January – February: Recent Abstract Painting, John Good Gallery, New York February – April: Forty Years of Modern Art, 1945–1985, Tate Gallery, London March – May: Studies of the Nude, Marlborough Fine Art, London September – January 1987: The Window in Twentieth-Century Art, Neuberger Museum of Art, New York travelling to Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, April – June 1987 November – January 1987: Looking into Paintings: 2 Portraits, Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Nottingham, organised by the Arts Council of Great Britain, travelling to: Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead, January – February 1987; Cartwright Hall, Bradford, February – March 1987; City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth, March – April 1987 1987 January – March: 2D/3D: Art and Craft Made and Designed for the Twentieth Century, Laing Art Gallery and Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

November – January 1989: The Pastoral Landscape: The Modern Vision, The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C. December – January 1989: Corsham: A Celebration, The Bath Academy of Art, 1946–72, Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, travelling to: Brighton Polytechnic Gallery, Brighton, January – February 1989; Michael Parkin Gallery, London, February – March 1989 December – 12th January 1989: Recent Acquisitions, Knoedler Gallery, New York

January – March: The Absent Presence, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield

Summer: Summer 1994: Painting, Drawing & Sculpture, Anthony d’Offay, London

May – September: Smith Collects Contemporary, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts

June – July: Here and Now, Serpentine Gallery, London

September – October: Not Pop: What the Others were Doing, Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London

June – July: The Silent Partner: Re-Viewing the Picture Frame, University Gallery – University of Essex, Colchester

December – January 1992: British Contemporary Art 1910–1990: 80 Years of Collecting in the Contemporary Art Society, Hayward Gallery, London

July – September: Paintmarks, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, travelling to: Southampton City Art Gallery, Southampton, September – November 1994; Mead Gallery, Warwick, November – December 1994

December: Act-Up: The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, Paula Cooper Gallery and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

1995 1992 January – February: Ready Steady Go: Painting of the Sixties from the Arts Council Collection, South Bank Centre, London

February – March: Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield and Howard Hodgkin: Paintings from the 60s and 70s, Waddington Galleries, London May – July: Where you were even now, Kunsthalle Winterthur, Winterthur

May – June: The Poetic Trace: Aspects of British Abstraction Since 1945, Adelson Galleries, New York

(n.d.) 1995: Group Show: Diebenkorn, Hodgkin, Lichtenstein, Motherwell, Rauschenberg, Stella, Sultan and Winters, Galerie Lawrence Rubin, Zürich

November – February 1993: Life into Paint: British Figurative Painting in the Twentieth Century, Israel Museum, Jerusalem



March – July: The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection, 1945 to 1995, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

20 February – 25 May 1993: Pittsburgh Collects, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA

November 1996 – February 1997: Brancusi to Beuys: Works from the Ted Power Collection, Tate Britain, London

March – June: The Sixties Art Scene in London, Barbican Art Gallery, London

April – May: Twentieth Century Works, Waddington Galleries, London

November – February 1994: The Portrait Now, National Portrait Gallery, London


April – June: Bilderstreit: Widerspruch, Einheit und Fragment in der Kunst seit 1960, Museum Ludwig, Cologne

December – January 1994: Leo Castelli Gallery, New York

November 1999 – January 2000: A Personal View of British Painting and Sculpture, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, travelling to The City Gallery, Leicester, January – February 2000

The First Hundred Years, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester 1990 March – May: Glasgow’s Great British Art Exhibition, Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries, Glasgow

January – April: British Art in the 20th Century: The Modern Movement, Royal Academy of Arts, London

November – January 1991: The British Imagination: Twentieth-Century Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings, Hirschl & Alder Galleries, New York

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January – March: State of the Art: Ideas and Images in the 1980s, ICA Gallery, London, travelling to: Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, March – April; Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, May – June; Cartwright Hall, Bradford, June – August



October: Masterpieces from the Arts Council Collection, Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo


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Curator’s Acknowledgements Paul Moorhouse


I first met Howard Hodgkin while working on the exhibition of his prints held at the Tate Gallery in 1985, and was fortunate to renew our acquaintance towards the end of his life, as the curator of the exhibition Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends, which opened at the National Portrait Gallery in 2017. Given my long-standing admiration for Hodgkin’s art, I was delighted therefore to be invited by James Holland-Hibbert to curate the present exhibition. I am very grateful to James for approaching me, and for his inspired idea of focusing on ‘classic’ Hodgkin. In bringing this exhibition to fruition, I have benefited from the involvement of many other individuals. In the first instance, I would like to express my thanks to Antony Peattie who has been enormously supportive. I am also indebted to Rosalie Savory who has managed the exhibition with great flair, Guy Robertson and Matthew Burdis whose assistance at the Hodgkin Archive has been invaluable, and Robin Vousden for his sage advice and help. A final word of thanks goes to all those organisations and individuals who generously lent works, and without whom the show would not have been possible.

All works are on loan from private collections except for the following: The Whitworth, University of Manchester [cat. 1] Tate [cat. 2 ]

Credits and photographic credits

All works and words by Howard Hodgkin are © Estate of Howard Hodgkin except for: Figs. 3, 5 and 6 and cat. 2, photo © Tate Unless stated all reference images were kindly provided by the Estate of Howard Hodgkin. The publishers have made every effort to trace all relevant copyright holders and apologise for any omissions that may have been made.

Additional images: Frontispiece: photography by Jorge Lewinski © The Lewinski Archive at Chatsworth / Bridgeman Images pp. 4–5 After Visiting David Hockney 1991–92 [cat. 11, detail] pp. 8–9 Storm 1996–97 [cat. 16, detail] p. 11 Howard Hodgkin, 1984 © David Mongomery/ Getty images pp. 20–21 Venice Sunset 1989 [cat. 8, detail]

Howard Hodgkin: In Another Form: Fig. 1 courtesy Christie’s Images Limited Figs. 2 and 8 courtesy Gagosian Gallery


pp. 60–61 From a Swiss Train, 1996–97 [cat. 17, detail] p. 63 Howard Hodgkin in Venice, 1984 Photographer possibly Antony Peattie pp. 86–87 Going to America 1999 [cat. 19, detail]

Fig. 1 © The National Gallery, London Fig. 2 photograph by Stephen Danko


Figs. 3, 7 and 10 © Arts Council England

p. 7 Howard Hodgkin in conversation with Antony Peattie, 29 August 1993

Fig. 6 © Tate, London Figs. 8 and 9 © Anthony Stokes Fig. 11 photographer unknown Fig. 12 © Catherine Ashmore Fig. 13 © Lincoln Centre Fig. 14 © TfL from the London Transport Museum Fig. 15 © The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Fig. 16 © Jordi Nieva Fig. 17 photographer unknown Fig. 19 photographer unknown Fig. 21 © The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York Fig. 22 © The Royal Mail Group


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Published by Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert On the occasion of the exhibition Howard Hodgkin: Memories Paintings 1978–1999 1 Ocotber – 11 December 2020 Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert 38 Bury Street London SW1Y 6BB Catalogue © Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert Ltd Texts © Paul Moorhouse 2020 All works by Howard Hodgkin © The Estate of Howard Hodgkin

ISBN: 978–1–9162061–0–6 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission in writing from the publishers.

Designed by Isambard Thomas / Corvo Photography by John Bodkin and Andy Smart Colour separation by DawkinsColour Printing by Gomer Press Limited


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