“1937: At the age of 5 Hodgkin determines to become a painter.” A timeline of notable events in the artist’s life and career.
The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford exhibits 20 of Hodgkin’s Indian paintings and drawings of elephants, that are on loan. Meanwhile Modern Art Oxford shows 25 of his paintings 2001-2010 in an exhibition called ‘Time and Place’, curated by the director, Michael Stanley. The last painting, Blood, arrives too late to be included in the catalogue.
The same building, then called Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, housed Hodgkin’s first retrospective of 45 paintings in 1976, curated by Nicholas Serota. The exhibition tours to the De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, the Netherlands, which is directed by Hendrik Driessen. He is also responsible for the installation.
Stefan Kuiper writes in Vrij Nederland, 28 August 2010: ‘In the past, until about ten years ago, [Hodgkin] worked on the basis of personal memories, and his paintings bore titles such as In Paris With You (1995-1996) and In Raimund Stecker’s Garden (1998-2001). His art was private, confessional; as though all sorts of intimate acknowledgements could be found among the enigmatic forms. Those paintings were highly personal theaters (the broad, paint-spattered frame resembling the entrance to a stage) in which the painter brought his memories to life. Paint had become Proust’s madeleine. Hodgkin’s new work is different, less private. That can be discerned in the titles—Lawn, Big Lawn, Sky—but also in the form. The small and intimate panel Leaf (2007-2009), for instance, involves no more than a single sharply curled sweep of thinned green against a background of plain wood. And Mud (2002) is a unprepared plank covered with wide strokes of green and grey. Though it consists of practically nothing, somehow this little picture effortlessly gives rise to associations with landscapes and shoals, or an approaching storm. These paintings are more suggestive than Hodgkin’s earlier work, less insistent, and consequently better. The difference resembles that between people who give energy—Hodgkin fondly refers to his paintings as a cast of characters—and those who take it. Between inhaling and exhaling. The question is whether the painter himself sees it that way. Hodgkin nods eagerly when I present him with my interpretation. That new approach to the work, he says, has to do with added confidence (“I used to be afraid of boring the viewer”) but also with a new method. “Painting, to me, meant plodding away endlessly. I spent entire days turning things around and around in a painting. Plenty of pentimenti were carried out before I felt satisfied with the work. At a certain point I had had enough of that. It became too strenuous, especially with my difficult knees. Nowadays I work differently, with circumspection, more like a chess player. I’d say that about ninety percent of the time in my studio is spent on a contemplation and analysis of the work, and only ten percent on actually painting it. So when I sit there staring at the wall, I’m in fact hard at work.” His eyes twinkle mischievously: “Explaining that to my assistants took quite some time.”‘
The exhibitions ‘Seven New Paintings’ goes up at Gagosian Gallery, Davies Street, London. The windows are covered in gauze and on the walls painted in soft grey hang Sky, Leaf, In the Train, Embrace, Rain on the Pane, Folk Art and Green Thoughts. Lawn hangs in the inner room.
Hodgkin’s exhibition ‘Time and Place: Paintings 2001 – 2010’ reaches its final touring destination at the San Diego Museum of Art, California.
Exhibits new paintings with the Gagosian Gallery; ‘Howard Hodgkin: New Paintings 2007-2011’ on Madison Avenue, New York.
The Designers Guild re-release Hodgkin’s textile designs including a brand new design titled Brush.
‘Visions of Mughal India: The Collection of Howard Hodgkin’ is a major exhibition in 2012 at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford of about 115 Indian paintings and drawings – almost the entirety of Hodgkin’s private collection. The collection comprises most of the main types of Indian court painting that flourished during the Mughal period (c.1550–1850), including the refined naturalistic works of the imperial Mughal court, the poetic and subtly coloured paintings of the Deccani Sultanates, the boldly drawn coloured styles of the Rajput kingdoms of Rajasthan and the Punjab Hills.
Hodgkin turns 80 and his birthday is celebrated by the Alan Cristea Gallery with a retrospective exhibition of prints. The same year he is commissioned to make a poster, Swimming, to promote Britain’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.
He exhibits new prints with Alan Cristea Gallery, London, in the exhibition ‘Acquainted with the Night’.
Hodgkin participates in the inaugural edition of the Toulouse International Art Festival in May 2013, with a solo exhibition at the Fondation Bemberg. At the invitation of the Festival’s Artistic Director the artist Jean-Marc Bustamante, Hodgkin was represented by twenty two paintings covering more than sixty years of his career.
Exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, ‘Howard Hodgkin: New Paintings’, in Rome.
An exhibition of 22 new paintings opens at Gagosian Gallery, Paris, Hodgkin’s first solo show in the city. Works include Blue Door (2009-12), The Sea, Goa (2013), Indian Waves (2013-2014) and For Matisse (2011-2014). Hodgkin completed many of them in Mumbai, where he starts to keep a studio in the winter months. Watch video of the Gagosian exhibition.
Alan Cristea Gallery, Cork Street, London shows ‘Green Thoughts’, 19 new prints, including the hand-painted carborundum relief, For Alan (2014). Printed in seven colour variations, the work testifies to Hodgkin’s close working relationship with gallery owner and publisher Alan Cristea, which spans over 20 years. The show’s title Green Thoughts refers to a couplet in Andrew Marvell’s 17th-century poem The Garden, “Annihilating all that’s made To a green thought in a green shade”. Andrew Marr’s essay in the catalogue was reprinted in the Guardian, headed, ‘Howard Hodgkin: the witty, glittery Proust of painters’.
Hodgkin was the first artist to be given the Swarovski Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon award in 2014. The prize honours the lifetime achievement of one of Britain’s greatest artists. Hodgkin was chosen by a panel chaired by Iwona Blazwick, Director, Whitechapel Gallery, with Stephen Deuchar, Director, The Art Fund; Ann Gallagher, Head of Collections (British Art), Tate; and, Jackie Wullschlager, Chief Art Critic, The Financial Times. To present the award Hodgkin invited Martin Creed, who performed his song, ‘I’m feeling orange, I’m feeling pink’. Read more.
At the end of the year Hodgkin shows ‘Indian Waves’ at Gagosian Gallery, Davies Street, London, some thirty gouaches inspired by India, printed and painted by Hodgkin on hand-made khadi paper at the 107 Workshop, Wiltshire, England between 1990 and 1991. They were put aside and forgotten until the workshop closed.
Hodgkin continues to work from Mumbai in the winter months. In February 2015 the major museum in Mumbai, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, presents ‘Howard Hodgkin: Paintings 1984 – 2015, A Tribute’, a collaboration between, CSMVS, Tate and the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, with the support of the British Council and Gagosian Gallery. The catalogue includes a foreword by Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate, and a text by Shanay Jhaveri. It is the most comprehensive show of Hodgkin’s work to be staged in India.
He paints Poppies (2015) for the Royal Mail, which commissions the design to mark the centenary of the First World War. Hodgkin’s Light Falling (2015) is inspired by Carl Phillips’s poem, ‘What I see is the light falling all around us’ and printed in T: The New York Times Style Magazine’ in the series ‘A Picture and A Poem: Poetry and Art’.
A solo show of paintings opens at Galerie Andres Thalmann, Zurich, Switzerland and of prints at the Galerie Eric Dupont, Paris, France, both 2015.
In 2016 Hodgkin exhibits 24 new paintings at Gagosian Gallery, Madison Avenue, New York, ‘From Memory’. Works include Morning (2015–16), Dirty Window (2014–15), Love Song (2015) and Blues for Mrs. Chatterjee (2015). The catalogue features an essay by James Lawrence. Many of the pictures were completed during Hodgkin’s winter stay in India.
He also made a print, For Antony (2016), pictured, to contribute towards Antony Peattie’s new, extensively illustrated book, The Private Life of Lord Byron, to be published by Unbound. It will be reproduced as end papers.