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Howard Hodgkin
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One of Britain’s leading artists of the last three decades of the 20th century, continuing into the 21st century, Howard Hodgkin has described his paintings and prints as “representational pictures of emotional situations.” While his works may appear to be colorful abstractions at first glance, they reflect memories of specific times, places and people. Born in 1932 in London to a well-to-do family, after spending time at Eton and another boarding school Hodgkin studied art at the Camberwell School of Art in London and the Bath Academy of Art, Corsham from 1949 until 1954. He made his first print, a lithograph, at the Bath Academy in1953. He then began teaching art, working at two schools before teaching at the Chelsea School of Art, London, from 1966 to 1972. His first solo exhibition of paintings was at the Arthur Tooth & Sons Gallery, London, in 1962. He then participated in numerous group and solo shows during the 1960s. By the end of the decade Hodgkin painted on wood rather than canvas, and began adding frames to the wooden backing, which he also painted as part of the work of art. During the early 1970s he learned intaglio printmaking, by which time he began establishing his reputation. In 1976 the Arts Council of Great Britain organized touring exhibition, “Howard Hodgkin, Forth-five Paintings 1949-1975” and the Tate Gallery, London mounted an exhibition of his prints. Since then Hodgkin has exhibited widely and received many solo museum shows. His as his printmaking evolved, he began hand-coloring papers before printing images on the sheets, adding complexity to his works. His work includes book illustrations, notably eight lift-ground aquatints with hand painting for Susan Sontag’s “The Way We All Live Now,” published in 1991 to support AIDS charities in Britain and the United States. Retrospective exhibitions of Hodgkin’s works were organized by the Modern Art Museum, Ft. Worth, in 1995 and the Irish Museum of Modern art, Dublin, in 2006, both of which toured museums in America and Europe. Recent paintings were shown at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, in 2012 and at the Gagosian Galleries in New York City (2011), Rome (2013 and Paris (2014). His recent prints were shown at the Alan Cristea Gallery, London, in 2014. Hodgkin is also known for his collection of Indian paintings and drawings dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries, particular from the Mughal dynasty. He started collecting while a schoolboy and made the first of his many visits to India in 1964. 115 works from his collection were exhibited in “Visions of Mughal India: The Collection of Howard Hodgkin” at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, in 2012. Hodgkin has served as a Trustee of the Tate Gallery, London (1970-1976) and the National Gallery, London (1978-1985). He represented Britain at the 1984 Venice Biennale. The winner of 1985 Turner Prize, he was made Commander of the British Empire (CBE), in 1977 and was awarded a knighthood in 1992. Hodgkin received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of London (1985) and Oxford University (2000). And in April 2014 he received the first Swarovski Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon for lifetime achievement. Hodgkin died in London in 2017. (TNB 10/2014)