Howard Hodgkin (1932-2017) was a British painter and printmaker who, with his innovative formal style, transcended binaries between figural representation and abstraction. Hodgkin's paintings often sought to convey memories of encounters with friends and family, frequently carrying titles alluding to specific places and events such as Dinner at West Hill (1966) and Goodbye to the Bay of Naples (1982). Hodgkin himself once noted that he painted ”representational pictures of emotional situations,” a statement that fixes him firmly as an advocate of the Expressionist movement.
Hodgkin attended the Camberwell School of Art from 1949 to 1950 and then the Bath Academy of Art from 1950-1954. His first solo show was in London in 1962. His early paintings tended to be of hard-edged curved forms, utilizing a limited number of colors. Around the beginning of the 1970s, Hodgkin's style became more spontaneous, with vaguely recognizable shapes presented in bright colors and bold forms. His works may then be called ”semi-abstract,” and are often compared to the paintings of Henri Matisse.
Hodgkin's first major retrospective was in 1976 at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford. Since then, his works have been included in other prominent retrospectives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Diego Museum of Art and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, among others. His work is in the collections of The National Gallery of Washington, D.C.; The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C.; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Tate Gallery, London, England; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; The British Museum, London, England; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Sao Paulo, Brazil; Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA; among others.