Remembering Howard Hodgkin

  • 9 March 2017

We are deeply saddened to learn that the great British painter Howard Hodgkin has died aged 84.

Sir Howard Hodgkin, Goanese, 1990-1991 © Victoria Art Gallery, Art Funded 2015

Sir Howard Hodgkin, Goanese, 1990-1991


© Victoria Art Gallery, Art Funded 2015

One of the very finest artists of his generation, Howard Hodgkin was known for producing highly evocative paintings inspired by moods, memories and emotions. While his work is essentially abstract, he instead described himself as ‘a figurative painter of emotional situations’.

The artist’s importance was widely recognised; in 1984 he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale, in 1985 he won the Turner Prize, and in 1992 he was knighted. Yet he was often surprised by his own success saying, ‘I look at my pictures, and I think, “Well, how did I do that?'”’.

Hodgkin was given his first solo show in 1962 and continued working right up until his death. During his celebrated 55-year career, he found inspiration in an array of subjects – from the Scottish hills to the Indian sea. He was also one of 12 artists asked to design a poster for the London 2012 Olympics.

Art Fund director, Stephen Deuchar, said: ‘Howard Hodgkin did perhaps more than any other single painter to advance the cause and public reputation of abstract painting in Britain in the 20th century.

‘The emotional intensity of his work, and the sheer vigour and power of his colour and brushwork, endeared his art deeply to countless people for whom abstract art might otherwise have been simply baffling.’

Today’s news comes just two weeks ahead of the opening of a highly-anticipated exhibition of his portraiture at National Portrait Gallery in London. A second show is set to open at The Hepworth Wakefield in July, this time exploring his great love of India and the influence it had on his painting.