Howard Hodgkin

Born 1932. Died 2017.
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Howard Hodgkin Biography

British painter and printmaker Howard Hodgkin was among the most admired postwar artists of the 20th century. His seemingly spontaneous, dramatic brushstrokes provide an exploration into the expressive nature of paint itself. Although his application of paint lent itself to the perception of rapid, brisk work, Hodgkin was a meticulous, careful and precise painter, who worked on individual paintings for decades at a time.

Born in London in 1932, he was evacuated to Long Island with his mother and sister during World War II. Upon his return to the United Kingdom, he studied at the Camberwell Art School and the Bath Academy of Art. His works from the 1960s experimented with the frame, a direct break with American Abstract Expressionism. His works border on figuration with nearly biomorphic forms that never fully become human. He began to gain notoriety in the 1980s, particularly after the 1984 Venice Biennale, which launched him internationally. In addition to his work as a painter and printmaker, Hodgkin was an avid collector. His personal collection, which sold at Sotheby’s in 2017, revealed the broad range of his interests and influences. Among his collection of objects from the 17th to the 20th centuries were works of Modern and Post-War British Art, Modern and Contemporary Indian Art, Old Master works and works from many other periods, regions and styles.

Despite winning the Turner Prize in 1985 and being knighted in 1992, Hodgkin maintained that he hated painting, and remained hesitant when discussing his own work. The National Portrait Gallery in London debuted the first exhibition of his portraits shortly after his death in 2017. His works are on view at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate, London; the Art Institute of Chicago, and many other institutions.

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Artist Image: 2010 Getty Images