Howard Hodgkin: Painting India

The Hepworth Wakefield

1 July – 8 October 2017

A showcase of works that were inspired by the painter's love of India.

Howard Hodgkin, Bombay Sunset, 1972-73

Ever since his first visit to India in 1964 Howard Hodgkin was enraptured and he continued to make trips almost annually for the next 50 years in order to explore and paint. Hodgkin was considered one of Britain’s greatest living painters (he passed away in March 2017), using intense, pigmented colour and confident brushwork to create works loaded with powerful and evocative emotion.

Traditional Indian art was a source of fascination for the artist even when he was a schoolchild: ‘I longed to visit India, but only managed to do so in my early twenties. It proved a revelation. It changed my way of thinking and, probably, the way I paint.’

On that first trip Hodgkin didn’t know what he was looking for, apart from ‘something else’ and spent his first night sleeping on the platform of Bombay Central station. Recalling sensory experiences ways central in his work, and he elicited not only the searing heat and lush landscapes of the country, but also the raw and generous spirit of the people, of which Hodgkin said he was immediately enchanted by.

The Hepworth Wakefield presents approximately 35 works spanning 50 years, from early figurative works of the 1960s (which were informed by the pictorial language of traditional Indian art) to the later, gestural pieces for which the artist was best known. Research for this exhibition was supported by an Art Fund Jonathan Ruffer curatorial grant.

Venue information

Opening times

Tue – Sun, 10am – 5pm
Closed Mon, except bank and local school holidays
Third Thu of each month, 10am – 9pm

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)