1980-1989 (10)


The Moon hangs in ‘The Hayward Annual…Selected by John Hoyland’.

The Moon, 1978-1980


First South Bank Show for London Weekend Television, directed by Verity Bargate.

Designs sets and costumes for ‘Night Music’, choreographed by Richard Alston for Ballet Rambert.

First show with Lawrence Rubin at Knoedler’s Gallery, New York. 12 works include The Moon (bought by R.B.Kitaj). Catalogue includes an essay by Lawrence Gowing: “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.”

“I think there are some artists who certainly should get out of the studio a little bit more often”, Hodgkin tells Edward Lucie-Smith in an interview for BBC Radio 3 (printed in Quarto, 1981). “I mean I know in my case that my work is entirely sustained by experiences of one sort or another. Somebody once said, ‘well, you must have to live like a novelist to paint pictures like this.’ Which is true.”

Hodgkin is included in ‘A New Spirit in Painting’ at the Royal Academy. Talking to Alan Woods in 1998 the artist commented, “Painting still remains alive, as an activity, in a way that, when I was young, would have seemed ridiculous. Pompier painting, as it was called, has come back with a bang – huge subject pictures. Think of Kiefer’s work alone, but anyone who saw the exhibition would have seen how much it was the old spirit of painting – pictures that would have made Cezanne and the Post-Impressionists turn in their graves. Enormous subject pictures which, as physical objects, were often produced in the most perfunctory manner possible, that were big and were in your face, comparable to these huge machines in the Paris Salons which I was brought up, I think quite rightly, to despise.”

Gives the William Townsend Memorial Lecture at the Slade School of Fine Art (reprinted in The Burlington Magazine, 1982). A distinguished sculptor walks out, when Hodgkin talks about money. See ‘How to be an Artist’ in Interviews & Resources.

Designs sets and costumes for Richard Alston's 'Night Music'


With Geeta Kapur co-curates ‘Six Indian Painters’ at the Tate Gallery, including Jamini Roy and Bhupen Khakhar.

Indian Leaves, pairs of images created in Ahmedabad by staining textile dye directly onto newly handmade paper, opens at the Tate Gallery. Michael Compton, H and Bruce Chatwin contribute to the catalogue. A 40 minute Arts Council film by Judy Marle, ‘Howard Hodgkin in Conversation with David Sylvester’, opens in his studio in Wiltshire and includes a visit to India, and conversations with Bhupen Khakhar and Foy Nissen.

Exhibition with Lawrence Rubin at Knoedler’s, New York. Works include After Corot.

Meets E.J.Power (1899-1993), a fellow trustee of the Tate Gallery, who collects paintings by Jackson Pollock and commissions a series of family portraits from Hodgkin.

After Corot, 1979-1982


With Terence McInerney selects 16th to 19th century Indian Drawings for an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London and writes notes in the catalogue. Travels to Egypt with McInerney and attends a son et lumiere performance at the pyramids.

Son et Lumiere, 1983 - 1984


Represents Britain at the XLI Venice Biennale with 24 paintings. He has the pavilion’s neo-classical interior painted eau de Nil green. Forty Paintings then travels to the Philips Collection, Washington, D.C., Yale Center for British Art, New Haven; the Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover and reopens the Whitechapel Gallery, London. The catalogue includes an essay by John McEwen and an interview with David Sylvester: “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”.

Meets Antony Peattie with whom he still lives. Takes a studio in Cardiff for five years. Paintings from this period include Down in the Valleys. Shows 12 paintings at Knoedler’s, New York, including Clean Sheets, Waking up in Naples, Passion, None But the Brave Deserves the Fair and Egypt.

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

The Arts Council organises a touring exhibition, ‘Four Rooms’, in which four artists are commissioned to make a room. Hodgkin designs fabric (printed by Warner’s) for sofas, chairs and walls, as well as stained plywood tables and bronze lamps, manufactured by Ron Aram. He has the lamps programmed to dim and brighten at intervals.

A conversation with Patrick Caulfield is printed in Art Monthly.

Nominated for first Turner Prize, H hangs Son et Lumiere in the Tate display. The prize was awarded to Malcolm Morley.

An installation view of Hodgkin's contribution to the 'Four Rooms' exhibition


Awarded the second Turner Prize. Exhibits A Small Thing But My Own, 1983-85, in the Tate show.

The Tate Gallery shows 25 of his Prints 1977-1983. Richard Morphet writes in the catalogue.

Cinda Sparling in New York hand colours a pair of prints, David’s Pool and David’s Pool at Night (both printed by Aldo Crommelynck in Paris), which begins a fruitful collaboration: she goes on to hand colour DH in Hollywood, Moonlight and Black Moonlight, Red Eye, One Down, Two to Go, Bleeding, Mourning, Blood and Sand, among other prints.

1978 - 1985

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


Exhibits 17 new paintings at Knoedler Gallery, New York, including Blue Palm, Venice Evening, View from Venice, In a Crowded Room and Sad Flowers.

Works for the first time with Jack Shirreff at 107 Workshop, Wiltshire on a print, Green Room. The partnership continues for the next 24 years.

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.

Some of Hodgkin's designs for the Designers Guild


Designs sets and costumes for ‘Pulcinella’, choreographed by Richard Alston for Ballet Rambert. Filmed by Bob Lockyer for the BBC it is now on DVD.

Makes Moon, a print in colour and in black and white for the Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Appointed Honorary Fellow, Brasenose College, Oxford.

Designs a mural for the swimming pool in the Broadgate Centre (architect Peter Foggo; commissioned by Rosehaugh Stanhope), executed in Venetian glass mosaic.

Shows 13 New Paintings at Waddington Galleries in his first show in a London commercial gallery since 1971, including Dinner at Palazzo Albrizzi, In Bed in Venice, Venetian Glass and Love Letter. It was also seen at Knoedler’s, New York.

Designs set and costumes for ‘Piano’, choreographed by Ashley Page for the Royal Ballet.

Hodgkin's mural for the Broadgate Centre swimming pool