10th October 2023

Howard Hodgkin, Sitting Room at West Hill, 1964-65 | Sotheby’s 25/10/23

Howard Hodgkin, Sitting Room at West Hill, 1964-65 | Sotheby’s 25/10/23
Howard Hodgkin, Sitting Room at West Hill, 1964 - 1965

Howard Hodgkin’s Sitting Room at West Hill, 1964 – 1965, oil on canvas, is included in the The Edith & Stuart Cary Welch Collection sale at Sotheby’s, London, October 25th 2023.

The painting will be on display at Sotheby’s between October 20th – 24th.

Auction catalogue notes:

We are grateful to the Howard Hodgkin studio for their help with the cataloguing of the present lot.

“I introduced Howard to Cary welch… and we all three gathered together whenever Cary was in London, and a friendly rivalry inevitably developed between the two passionate and discriminating collectors.” – Robert Skelton O.B.E. (1929-2022)

The late Sir Howard Hodgkin (1932-2017) was a renowned British artist celebrated for his distinctive and evocative abstract paintings. Hodgkin’s artistic journey began during his early years at the Camberwell School of Art in London and later at the Bath Academy of Art. His early works were marked by figurative and representational styles, but he soon found his true artistic voice in abstraction. Inspired by artists such as Mark Rothko and Henri Matisse, Hodgkin began to experiment with colour, texture and form, developing a unique and deeply personal approach to painting. Howard Hodgkin’s art transcends conventional boundaries, inviting viewers to engage with the sentiments and memories that underpin the human experience.

One of Hodgkin’s defining characteristics as an artist was his ability to capture the fleeting moments, emotions, and memories that lay beneath the surface of his subjects. His work often featured bold, vibrant colors and a dynamic interplay between shapes and spaces, creating a sense of movement and energy on the canvas. He referred to his works as “representational pictures of emotional situations.” Over the course of his career, Hodgkin received numerous accolades and awards, including the prestigious Turner Prize in 1985. He represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1984 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1992 for his services to art. His works can be found in major museums and collections around the world, including the Tate Gallery in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Hodgkin was a frequent traveller to India, first attracted to its miniature painting tradition whilst still at school in the 1940s. He developed a discriminating eye and a world-class collection that has been exhibited in museums across the globe (see, for example, Visions of Mughal India: The Collection of Howard Hodgkin, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 2012). In 1992 Howard Hodgkin designed a marble-inlaid mural for the façade of the British Council building in New Delhi.

Sitting Room at West Hill depicts a portrait of Hodgkin’s great friend, the fellow artist Bernard Cohen, amongst other guests to Cohen’s home in West Hill. Hodgkin was a frequent visitor to Cohen and his wife Jeannie’s abode, where Cohen’s own works adorned the walls of his rooms. Hodgkin here emulates the abstracted nature of Cohen’s paintings into his work through the purposely flat forms and boldly coloured patterns in the scene to portray the furniture and the figures. This work relates to Dinner at West Hill, which was painted in the same setting, and it is part of the Tate collection in London.

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