We remember painter Howard Hodgkin: 1932-2017
'I look at my pictures, and I think, 'Well, how did I do that?' One of our greatest painters Howard Hodgkin dies at 84, ahead of a major London exhibition
Luckily for us, this hatred didn't put him off. Hodgkin was one of our greatest artists. Over a 50 year career, his lavish streams of colour, wild shapes and gestural brush-strokes worshipped the world in which he lived.
His paintings were abstract, but also profoundly emotional. It is easy to see why the poet Seamus Heaney once said that Hodgkin celebrates what poet Dylan Thomas called the ‘force that through the green fuse drives the flower' - the life force that runs through the world and connects us all.
Born a Londoner, made an evacuee and then expelled from Eton, Hodgkin found art early. And never left.
We think of him as an abstract painter, but as an upcoming National Portrait Gallery show will show, the Turner Prize winner's seemingly non-representational works are emotional portraits. The artist is "trying to build into a portrait not how things appear, but how we respond to them in terms of memory and emotion.” His paintings, then, are not of his subjects. They are about his feelings for them."
Tate Director, Nicholas Serota has said: “Howard Hodgkin was one of the great artists and colourists of his generation. His characteristic subject, the memory of a meeting or a conversation with a friend, resulted in paintings that radiate the emotions of life: love, anger, vanity, beauty and companionship.”