For an artist, time can always be regained . . . because by an act of imagination you can always go back. — Howard Hodgkin
Howard Hodgkin is often attributed to having been one of Britain’s most important contemporary painters and printmakers. Born in London, he grew up in Hammersmith Terrace. After returning from New York, where he spent three years during the war, he studied at the Camberwell School of Art (1949-50), followed by the Bath Academy of Art, Cosham (1950-1954).
Hodgkin’s works are deeply attuned to the interplay of gesture, colour, and ground. They often refer to memories and private experiences, but deliberately avoid the illustrational. Though his works often appear spontaneous, they are regularly the result of an extensive process of layering and over-painting. Hodgkin first began making original prints in the 1950s. In his later years he favoured the use of etching, aquatint and carborundum combined with hand-painting.
His paintings and prints have been the subject of major exhibitions all over the world. His first retrospective was curated by Nicholas Serota at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, in 1976. In 1995 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York presented a major retrospective which toured to Europe and in 2010 they presented a dedicated prints retrospective. In 2006 a major touring exhibition travelled from Tate, London to Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and the Reina Sofia, Madrid.
In 1985 Hodgkin won the Turner Prize and represented Britain in the Venice Biennale. He has served as a trustee of the Tate, London and the National Gallery, London and was knighted in 1992. He was awarded the Shakespeare Prize in Hamburg in 1997 and made a Companion of Honour in 2002. His paintings and prints are held by most major museums including Tate, London; British Museum, London; Metropolitan Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Carnegie Institute, Pennsylvania and Louisiana, Denmark.