If the paintings of British artistic titan Sir Howard Hodgkin can be said to embody or encapsulate any one style or aesthetic, the term “abstract” is seemingly most accurate. But even as fairly flexible a term as that betrays the layered, multi-dimensional, and color-saturated paintings for which Sir Howard Hodgkin is rightly famous and celebrated. Not driven so much by a consciously achieved sense of iconoclasm as by a standing commitment to faithfully capturing the world and its images in all its vivid dynamism, Sir Howard Hodgkin has carved out a space for himself within the annals of artistic greats by fluently crossing genre thresholds and intertwining within his paintings seemingly opposed tenets of style.
The result has been a body of work which seems as at home beneath the banner of abstractionism as at odds with it. For Hodgkin’s part, he surely would not have it any other way.
Born in 1932 London, England, Hodgkin would come of age during the Second World War and subsequently spend the years of 1949-1954 learning the art of painting at a collegiate level. His first round of advanced artistic training took place at Camberwell Art School, a venerable and respected institute of design which falls under the University of the Arts London. Following his Camberwell experience, Hodgkin continued his studies at the famous and storied Bath School of Art and Design, an institution born in the mid-19th century which has produced many a renowned alumnus.
Having spent a half-decade studying in two of academia’s most prestigious art schools, Hodgkin would spend the remaining years of the 1950s experimenting, producing, and further priming himself for a professional debut, which was held in his native London, would ultimately take place in 1962. It seems to have been at this juncture that Hodgkin fully embraced and began showcasing the style(s) for which he would soon thereafter become famous.
Sir Howard Hodgkin’s tremendous career has spanned over half-a-century in duration, a blessing in more ways than one. Of course, longevity is cherished by artist and non-artist alike, and Hodgkin is surely grateful having enjoyed so many years of life and creativity. Such an enduring presence serves Hodgkin particularly well because of the sheer time he is known to invest in his every work, a fact often misrepresented by the seeming simplicity of some of his most time-intensive productions. Fortunately, the man’s work and contributions did not escape notice of the Crown, and in 1992 (30 years after his debut), Hodgkin was knighted within the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Howard Hodgkin Artwork
The work of Howard Hodgkin is as easily recognizable to the eye as it is stylistically elusive. A work such as Jealousy, for instance, is seemingly simplistic in its conceptualization and execution, with the subject itself taking precedence over the form. However, in terms of brush strokes and image intricacy, the painting might appear to have been produced relatively quickly. However, upon closer examination it becomes apparent that Hodgkin’s approach was both multi-layered and rather detailed in its design.
An apparently suffering apparition occupies the picture’s window-like center, but in focusing upon the ostensible centerpiece one is subtly redirected via color contrasts and gradations to the image’s periphery in a sort of sight-loop. This phenomenon speaks to Hodgkin’s painting skill and conceptual agility.
Clever use of color guides the eye towards the work’s natural center, but subtly invites a broader visual intake once the shading transitions become apparent. Indeed, Jealousy is a remarkable painting, but represents only a narrow sliver of Hodgkin’s overall body of work. A career spanning 50+ years has seen Hodgkin generate a respectable number of original works, all of which channel his unique penchant for producing complex relationships between color, perspective, and subject. Which is not to say the man’s body of work is in any way homogeneous. Rather, each painting can be taken as a standalone testament to Hodgkin’s enduring genius, one characterized by signature elements for which he is highly renowned.
Professional painters of all genres and stylistic preferences are encouraged to learn about us here, as are those looking to enrich their homes and office environments with first-rate prints of high quality artwork stemming from the brushes of countless artists. Speaking of which, more commercially-minded artists are welcome to explore the avenue through which you may sell your artwork, as our professional aim is one of connecting patrons with excellent art.