LONDON – Howard Hodgkin’s intimate affair with India is well documented both in his own work inspired by the Subcontinent and in the recent travelling exhibition of his private collection of exceptional Mughal art

Indian Waves, opening at Gagosian’s Davies Street Gallery today, gives a further insight into this rich source of inspiration as the title refers to a group of 30 gouaches painted in the early 1990s and recently rediscovered after more than two decades.

ABOVE: HOWARD HODGKIN, ORANGE SUNSET, 1990–1991. COURTESY GAGOSIAN GALLERY.

HOWARD HODGKIN, CHOWPATTY BEACH, 1990–1991. COURTESY OF GAGOSIAN GALLERY.

The first of Hodgkin’s many trips to India was made in 1964 and the country has afforded an enduring source of inspiration, from personal encounters to specific places, seasons and times of day, or simply from the mood and emotion provoked. The ensuing works range from a massive mural on the façade of the British Council Building in Delhi to intimate landscapes, such as Bombay Sunset, which was part of the Tate retrospective in 2006.

The works that have recently come to light employ a two-stage process, using hand made Indian Khadi paper (used by Hodgkin only in this collection) prepared for painting with a carborundum printing technique. 

HOWARD HODGKIN, MUMBAI WEDDING, 1990–1991. COURTESY OF GAGOSIAN GALLERY.

Each work contains the same unifying elements – a blue line across the lower half of each sheet with an arc of green above — before being partially covered with bursts of red and yellow, rose, orange, black, white, and green. Each work stands alone with an individual titles relating to the subject (Mumbai Wedding, Border, Chowpatty Beach, Natural Phenomenon, Goanese, Party, Night Falls and so on) but they are also united as a group inspired by India – as Hodgkin himself said of the country “I couldn’t work without it.”


ARTIST HOWARD HODGKIN, PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARCELLA LEITH – TATE PHOTOGRAPHY.

Howard Hodgkin: Indian Waves
28 November–31 January 2015
Gagosian Gallery
17-19 Davies Street