This painting was created to celebrate the appearance of Howard Hodgkin at the 2006 Hay Festival. It was inspired by Hodgkin's words to John Elderfield in 1995: ‘But why is colour so difficult as an idea, so verbally otiose? Most colour theories are by their very nature somehow ridiculous. It seems almost impossible to talk about colour rationally or sympathetically, but nothing [for a painter] can compare with its infinite possibilities, its infinite seductions; the multiplicity of its possible meanings from the most profound to the exceedingly trivial. Can you imagine a serious pink next to a trivial blue or even a ridiculous black? All these randomly chosen colours can be any number of other things depending on shape, context, scale, etc.’ (John Elderfield and Howard Hodgkin, 'An Exchange', in Howard Hodgkin Paintings
, Thames and Hudson, London, in association with The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, 1995, p.68).
O’Cain said: ‘This challenge of imagination was too difficult for me to resist. Because Howard loved to collect jewel-like Indian miniatures, I wanted to make a small and intense work, painted directly onto gold leaf, and to mount it sumptuously in a nod to Howard’s use of painted frames. To emphasize the influence of Howard on my own work and to celebrate our sharing of the joys of creating art, I made my signature almost as large as the work itself’ (Alan O’Cain, 2017).
We are grateful to the Artist for his kind assistance with the cataloguing of this work.