Howard Hodgkin

Howard Hodgkin was born in London in 1932. As a painter he belonged to no school or movement and is sometimes labelled an abstract artist. But he preferred to describe his work as ‘representational pictures of emotional situations’.

Hodgkin is widely regarded as one of Britain’s greatest artists and has been a central figure in contemporary art for over half a century. He was a great friend of India, first visiting the country in 1964. He returned ‘as often as possible’, with India playing an important role in his work. His first work on wood, rather than canvas, was Indian Subject (Blue and White), 1965-1969. In 1975 he represented Britain at the Delhi Triennale, and a few years later in 1982, Hodgkin curated Six Indian Painters at the Tate Gallery, featuring Rabindranath Tagore, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil, K.G. Subramanyan, Bhupen Khakhar and the photographs of M.F. Husain. His prints on Indian themes include Indian Room (1967), Indian Views (1971), More Indian Views (1976), Indian Tree and Mango (1990-1991), In India and Delhi (2012).

He studied at the Camberwell School of Art, followed by the Bath Academy of Art between, where he later taught for many years. He served as an influential trustee of Tate and the National Gallery, London. In 1984, he represented Britain at the XLIVenice Biennale and he was awarded the Turner Prize in 1985. His first retrospective was curated by Nicholas Serota at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford in 1976. His work has been the subject of numerous major retrospectives most notably at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, Tate Britain, London, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and the Reina Sofia, Madrid. His paintings and prints are held by most major museums around the world. He designed the set and costumes for several opera and ballet productions including most recently Layla and Majnun performed by the Mark Morris Dance company in 2016. He was knighted in 1992, awarded the Shakespeare Prize in Hamburg in 1997, and made a Companion of Honour in 2002.

He passed away in March 2017 after his annual long stint in India.