Howard Hodgkin

As Times Goes By


Howard Hodgkin is one of Britain’s leading contemporary artists. His vibrantly colourful works oscillate between ­figuration and abstraction; they visualise and evoke feelings and memories. Hodgkin’s latest giant work, As Time Goes By, combines his exuberant, fluid painterly gesture with great spontaneity and verve, and is a beguiling masterpiece. Some six metres wide, this is his biggest print so far. Galerie Andres Thalmann proudly presents this key work alongside other pieces from Hodgkin’s recent print series.


In a much-quoted statement Hodgkin described his position as an artist: “I am a representational painter but not a painter of appearances. I paint representational pictures of emotional situations.” His sensual colour compositions evoke memories of places and encounters and the sentiments associated with them. The act of painting revives his memories. In his compositions Hodgkin often creates dramatic contrasts, both reconstructing and obscuring his impressions and feelings by superimposing layers and j­uxtaposing intense colour contrasts and distinct marks. Painted frames enhance the suggestive effect of his pulsa­ting colours.


Motifs tend to be embedded in Hodgkin’s pictorial structures. He often creates additional levels consisting of lines of wide brush strokes or splashes of colour, which inscribe themselves as texture. He has defined the splashes as ­autonomous signs, which in As Time Goes By are the actual subject. Spontaneously placed, in various colours and with some overlapping, the splashes create several visually superimposed grids that give great depth to the composition.


In the late 1970s Hodgkin embarked on printmaking. Many series document his endeavour to push the boundaries of this genre and to combine printing and painting techniques. His innovative contribution to printmaking has been to treat hand colouration as an integral element of the printing process where it usually occurs at the end. Hodgkin, how­ever, has increasingly integrated colouration at various ­stages of the process. His hand-painted prints acquire a more voluptuous texture, with the paint’s gleam producing an oscillation between visual levels.


Hodgkin has created an autonomous print cycle. Inspired by posters he designed, among others, his large-scale palm images. He has developed emblems in a bold formal idiom that exude an exotic atmosphere. A comprehensive catalogue raisonné on Howard Hodgkins’ printed oeuvre, edited by Liesbeth Heenk and Nan Rosenthal, was published by Thames & Hudson in 2003.


Howard Hodgkin was born in London in 1932 and attended Camberwell School of Art and the Bath Academy of Art, ­Corsham. In 1984, he represented Britain at the Venice ­Biennale and in the following year won the Turner Prize. He has exhibited internationally for over four decades and his work is included in major public and private collections all over the world. Major museum surveys include Paintings 1975-1995 which opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and toured to Fort Worth, Düsseldorf, and London; a major retrospective at the Irish Museum of M­odern Art, Dublin (2006) travelling to Tate Britain and ­Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid. ­Until November 2010 the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, shows Hodgkin’s series Into the Woods and Venice from its collection.


Ruth Littman



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