Lot 69
  • 69

Howard Hodgkin

250,000 - 350,000 GBP
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  • Howard Hodgkin
  • Bedroom
  • signed H. Hodgkin, titled BEDROOM and dated 1960-61 (on the canvas overlap)
  • oil on canvas
  • 106.5 by 127cm., 42 by 50in.


London, AIA Gallery, Twenty Painters, September 1961, cat. no.43;
Demark, Sammenslutningen Af Danske Kunstforeininger, Britisk Kunst, 1962-63, cat. no.26, illustrated;
London, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Two Young Figurative Painters, 14th February - 24th March 1962, cat. no.4 (as Bed Room).


Michael Auping, John Elderfield, Susan Sontag, with catalogue by Marla Price, Howard Hodgkin Painting, Thames and Hudson in association with The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, 1995, p.141, cat. no.15;
Marla Price, Howard Hodgkin The Complete Paintings: Catalogue Raisonné, Thames and Hudson, London, 2006, p.49, cat. no.15.


The original canvas is stable. There are several areas of rubbing and some small associated paint losses in the blue pigment at the bottom of the composition. There are two small vertical lines of paint cracking in the yellow pigment to the left of the male figure. There are some scattered light scuffs to the paint surface, along with dirt and studio detritus. Subject to the above the painting appears to be in very good and original condition. Ultraviolet light reveals no obvious signs of fluorescence or retouching. The painting is presented in a thin wooden baton frame. Please telephone the department on +44 (0) 207 293 6424 if you have any questions regarding the present work.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

‘As far as the subjects of my paintings go, they are about one moment in time involving particular people in relationship to each other and also to me.’
Howard Hodgkin, 1967
(quoted in Howard Hodgkin Absent Friends, exh.cat., National Portrait Gallery, London, 2017, p.14)

Painted in 1960 – 61, Bedroom recalls a moment in a Parisian hotel bedroom featuring the artist himself together with his wife Julia and their friend, a Mrs Burt. The dynamic palette conjures a vivid atmosphere evoking the intense spirit of the place whilst the trio of friends are brought to life through Hodgkin’s deft yet descriptive brushstrokes laden with impasto. In the background, in contrast to the rich yellow walls, the small painting which hangs in the centre gives a foretaste of the more spontaneous brushwork Hodgkin would develop in years to come.

Paris was a significant place to bring to life – for an artist who famously diverted direct questions about his own art, he was very clear when it came to certain influences: ‘Degas, Degas, Degas, Degas (interview with Jackie Wullschlager, ‘Lunch with the FT: Howard Hodgkin, The Financial Times, 20th January 2012). Paris was of course home to the Impressionist artist for the great majority of his life and seeing his best work there must have had a profound effect on Hodgkin; he spoke of ‘the classical wall of expressed feeling that Degas has built for us…’ (ibid.). It can be no coincidence that his 1993 painting After Degas was chosen to grace the cover of his catalogue raisonné published in 2006 and a favourite song was The Last Time I Saw Paris composed by Jerome Kern and sung by Noel Coward. Hodgkin's final visit to Paris was on the occasion of his exhibition of prints at the Galerie Eric DuPont in 2015.

Bedroom was included in Hodgkin’s major early show at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1962 with Allen Jones: Two Young Figurative Artists. Whilst Conroy Maddox, the critic for Art Review, was predictably wary of Hodgkin’s bold pictorial language that hovered tantalisingly between figuration and abstraction, he did have to admit that Hodgkin was ‘developing a point of view and a method of expressing it that hold promised for the future’ (Conroy Maddox, ‘Two Young Figurative Painters’, Art Review, 14th June 1962). The exposure at the ICA undoubtedly set Hodgkin’s career on its trajectory and his first solo show was held a few months later at Arthur Tooth and Sons in October 1962.

Hodgkin explained to John Elderfield in 1995 that ‘I have absolutely no desire to collect my own work…’ (letter to John Elderfield, 13 March 1995) and he rarely allowed any of his work into his home. It is thus significant that Bedroom should have remained in his collection together with Travelling, also shown at the ICA in 1962.

Sold to benefit the Mark Morris Dance Group
Howard first encountered Mark Morris's choreography in Brussels, where Mark was in residence at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie. Howard went on to design sets for Rhymes with Silver (1997),  Kolam (2002) and Mozart Dances (2006). For their most recent collaboration, Layla and Majnun (2016) Howard designed set and costumes. Now on tour it reaches New York on 26 October this year and Sadler's Wells Theatre, London in Autumn 2018.