“1937: At the age of 5 Hodgkin determines to become a painter.” A timeline of notable events in the artist’s life and career.
1940 - 1943
Evacuated with mother and older sister, Ann (1930 – 2006), to USA, where they live on Long Island and he attends Greenvale School. His early ambition to paint is reinforced when he sees pictures by Stuart Davis, Matisse and Picasso at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.
1945 - 1948
At Eton College the art teacher Wilfrid Blunt shows his pupils works borrowed from the Royal Library, next door in Windsor Castle, including Ustad Mansur’s Chameleon (circa 1612, RL12081). Hodgkin begins to collect Indian miniatures. But he runs away from school twice. He transfers to Bryanston School in Dorset where he appreciates the art teacher Charles Handley-Read but soon runs away again. Hodgkin is sent to a psychiatrist but convinces him that all he needs is to return to the States. He spends the summer back on Long Island.
Completes the first work he believes in, Memoirs, an “astonishingly prophetic” small painting, as Richard Cork called it (The Evening Standard, 1976). Its medium (gouache on board), title and subject (a conversation in an interior) anticipate later and apparently disparate work.