Howard Hodgkin (b. 1932)
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Howard Hodgkin (b. 1932)


Howard Hodgkin (b. 1932)
oil on canvas
41 1/8 x 57 1/8in. (104.5 x 145cm.)
Painted in 1960-1962
Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd., London.
Peter Cochrane, London (acquired from the above).
His Estate sale, Sotheby’s London, 21 June 2006, lot 51.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
N. Lynton, ‘London Letter’, in Art International, December 1962 (illustrated, p. 43).
P. Boyd Wilson, ‘The Home Forum’, in Christian Science Monitor, vol. 57, 17 July 1965 (illustrated, p. 8).
M. Price (ed.), Howard Hodgkin: The Complete Paintings, Catalogue Raisonné, London 1995, no. 24, (illustrated, p. 142).
M. Price (ed.), Howard Hodgkin: The Complete Paintings, Catalogue Raisonné, London 2006, p. 54, no. 24 (illustrated in colour, p. 55).
London, Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd., Howard Hodgkin, 1962, no. 13.
London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, British Painting in the Sixties: Section Two, 1963, no. 149.
Bochum, Städtische Kunstgalerie, Profile III: Englische Kunst der Gegenwart, 1964, no. 79.
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, London: The New Scene, 1965- 1966, p. 66, no. 34 (illustrated in colour, p. 23). This exhibition later travelled to Washington D.C., The Washington Gallery of Modern Art; Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art; Seattle, Seattle Art Museum Pavilion; Vancouver, The Vancouver Art Gallery; Toronto, The Art Gallery of Toronto and Ottawa, The National Gallery of Canada.
Oxford, Museum of Modern Art, Howard Hodgkin: Forty-Five Paintings 1949-1975, 1976, no. 7 (illustrated in colour, p. 29). This exhibition later travelled to London, Serpentine Gallery; Leigh, Turnpike Gallery; Newcastle upon Tyne, Laing Art Gallery; Aberdeen, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Sheffield, Graves Art Gallery.
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


‘My pictures are finished when the subject comes back. I start out with the subject and naturally I have to remember first of all what it looked like, but it would also perhaps contain a great deal of feeling and sentiment. All of that has got to be somehow transmuted, transformed or made into a physical object, and when that happens, when that’s finally been done, when the last physical marks have been put on and the subject comes back-which, after all, is usually the moment when the painting is at long last a physical coherent object-well, then the picture’s finished and the is no question of doing anything more to it. My pictures really finish themselves’
(H. Hodgkin, quoted in D. Sylvester, Howard Hodgkin: Forty Paintings, exh. cat., Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1984, p. 97).

Bursting with colour, Garden (1960-1962) is an important early example of the unique abstract vocabulary that has come to define Howard Hodgkin’s remarkable career. Two years of artistic labour culminate in a dense canopy of vibrant oranges, reds and yellows representative of blooms set within a Cadmium green trellis. As if glimpsed through a summer’s haze, the beguiling patchwork of rich colours and layered brushstrokes seems to teeter between abstraction and figuration. A figure lying supine amongst the flowers seems to appear before the viewer, soon to melt back into the wealth of abstract colour. Once in the collection of Peter Cochrane and included in the artist’s first solo show at Arthur Tooth & Sons Gallery in 1962, as well as the seminal 1963 Pop Art exhibition British Painting in the Sixties at the Whitechapel Art Gallery – where it was exhibited alongside works by David Hockney, Peter Blake and Allen Jones – Garden demonstrates the emergence of Hodgkin’s artistic language in the midst of the intensely creative and dynamic London art scene of the early 1960s.

Despite its historical context, like many of Hodgkin’s works from this period, Garden is distinguished from the influence of Brit Pop by its almost romanticised subject matter. Throughout his career Hodgkin has continued to take inspiration from the natural landscape, and the motif of the garden runs throughout his oeuvre, both in early masterpieces such as Gardening (1963) as well as later works including Red Bermudas (1978-80) in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. The present work stands as one of the first few examples in which Hodgkin uses this theme to explore the relationship between colour and sensation. While many of Hodgkin’s works from the early 1960s can be defined as ‘conversation pieces’, Garden is part of an early group in which the artist sought to capture the dynamics of vision and memory. With its densely layered patterning, where foreground and background seamlessly intermingle, Garden taps into an emotive register: while Pop enshrined the iconography of modern life, Hodgkin’s works embrace the feeling of contemporary visual experience. ‘I paint representational pictures of emotional situations’, he once said (H. Hodgkin, quoted in A. Graham-Dixon, Howard Hodgkin, London 1994, p. 7). Executed on a Victorian stretcher endless layering and tweaking over a two-year period means that, like so many of his later works, Garden can be seen as a labour of love, where time and process are central to its creation.

One of the most celebrated living British painters, Hodgkin’s sumptuous, colour-drenched visions set him apart from the various movements that have run parallel to his career. Yet in early works such as Garden, we can see the debt owed to the revolutionary energy of Brit Pop London. By the early 1960s Swinging London was taking hold, driven by a new youth culture that came to define the metropolitan landscape. Early ground-breaking exhibitions, such as Young Contemporaries held at the RCA Galleries in 1961, irrevocably shifted the perceived boundaries between popular culture and fine art. Hodgkin was undeniably part of this scene: in 1962 he shared an exhibition at the ICA with Allen Jones, and at one stage acted as the landlord to Patrick Caulfield, who took a studio in Hodgkin’s home. Personal friends with many of his artistic contemporaries during this period, Hodgkin painted portraits of Allen Jones and his wife, as well as Joe Tilson and his family. Garden demonstrates the close dialogue between Hodgkin and his Brit Pop counterparts who, following the Independent Group of the 1950s, were breaking the stranglehold of pure, formalist abstraction. His hedonistic use of colour seems to flirt with the decorative banality and painterly caricature of the early Pop paintings; in particular, its bold use of red and Cadmium green resonates with Allen Jones’ 1962 series of bus paintings. Testament to its significance within the burgeoning art scene of the 1960s, Garden was included in the Whitechapel Art Gallery’s British Painting in the Sixties exhibition in 1963, the year after it was made and in the touring exhibition London: The New Scene at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, alongside works by Patrick Caulfield, R.B. Kitaj, David Hockney and Joe Tilson in 1965-1966.

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