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Howard Hodgkin (B. 1932)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more Property from the Collection of Rudolf and Leonore Blum
Howard Hodgkin (B. 1932)

Waterfall

Details
Howard Hodgkin (B. 1932)
Waterfall
signed, titled and dated 'Howard Hodgkin WATERFALL 1991-92' (on the reverse)
oil on panel
17 ¾ x 21 1/3in. (45.2 x 54.1cm.)
Painted in 1991-1992
Provenance
Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1994.
Literature
M. Price (ed.), Howard Hodgkin: The Complete Paintings, Catalogue Raisonné, London 1995, p. 197, no. 262, (illustrated in colour, p. 124 and illustrated p. 197).
M. Price (ed.), Howard Hodgkin: The Complete Paintings, Catalogue Raisonné, London 2006, no. 262, (illustrated in colour, p. 269).
Exhibited
Rome, The British School in Rome, Howard Hodgkin: Seven Small Pictures, 1992.
Jerusalem, Israel Museum, Life into Paint, British Figurative Painting in the Twentieth Century, 1992-1993.
London, Anthony d'Offay Gallery, Howard Hodgkin: Looking at Pictures, 1993-1994 (illustrated in colour, p. 35). This exhibition later travelled to New York, M. Knoedler & Co.
Special Notice

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.
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Annemijn van Grimbergen

Lot Essay

‘The frequent references to travel in Hodgkin’s art, the countless allusions to places that are foreign, alien or unfamiliar, record the painter’s movements, but only imprecisely, and they do not stop at that. They amount to a statement of ambition for the paintings themselves. They say that to look at a picture should itself be to travel, to be transported, to be taken somewhere else. Every painting is its own self-sufficient world to be experienced as we would experience a foreign place travelled to for the first time: radiant, uncanny alien... This may partly explain Hodgkin’s preference for colours that are clear and fresh and unclouded, colours as seen by someone who approaches the world with the attitude of the one travelling, who sees it unveiled and undimmed’ (A. Graham-Dixon, Howard Hodgkin, London 1994, pp. 103-104).

Painted in 1991-1992, the same year Hodgkin was knighted for his outstanding contribution to British art, Howard Hodgkin’s Waterfall translates into painterly form the complex myriad of colours contained within a brief memory. With the characteristic flourish of his gestural brushstrokes, Hodgkin is able to suggest natural phenomena without a strict adherence to the confines of figuration. Evocative of a cascading torrent, variegated swathes of lapis lazuli paint rippled with brilliant white flood the pictorial space, the tactility of the sumptuous paint introducing a sense of pictorial depth and movement into the composition. Painted directly on the artist’s frame, the composition overflows beyond the traditional boundaries of painting. Waterfall was one of seven artworks shown at the artist’s solo exhibition at the British School in Rome in 1992, Waterfall was also exhibited in the ‘Life into Paint, British Figurative Painting in the Twentieth Century’ exhibition at the Israel Museum, 1992-1993, before being acquired by the present owner in 1994 where it has remained for the last twenty years.

Hodgkin’s paintings are almost always inspired by the memory of a place or travel distilled in Hodgkin’s mind’s eye. Nothing however is made explicit: the remarkable air of the work is articulated purely through Hodgkin’s extraordinary sensitivity to the effects of colour and his uncanny ability to stimulate an emotive response in the viewer. The result is a rich and complex series of painterly layers of colour and form that hints at representation without ever defining it. In Waterfall, steams of vibrant azure, interspersed with passages of midnight blue meet warm scarlet, crimson, and persimmon in a whirling eddy, adding a sense of chromatic balance to the composition. Appearing almost sculptural, Hodgkin’s gestures cover each smooth stretch and groove of the wood, creating illusionistic depth in the picture plane, the waterfall seeming to overflow into the viewer’s space.

The journey of Hodgkin’s hand across the surface of the board can clearly be seen in the sweeping trails of his brushwork, which escape the traditional confines of the frame specifically chosen by the artist. It is through the artist’s intentional concealment and repetition of layered images that Hodgkin elicits a complex relationship of responsiveness between artist and viewer. According to Andrew Graham-Dixon, ‘The frequent references to travel in Hodgkin’s art, the countless allusions to places that are foreign, alien or unfamiliar, record the painter’s movements, but only imprecisely, and they do not stop at that. They amount to a statement of ambition for the paintings themselves. They say that to look at a picture should itself be to travel, to be transported, to be taken somewhere else. Every painting is its own self-sufficient world to be experienced as we would experience a foreign place travelled to for the first time: radiant, uncanny alien... This may partly explain Hodgkin’s preference for colours that are clear and fresh and unclouded, colours as seen by someone who approaches the world with the attitude of the one travelling, who sees it unveiled and undimmed’ (A. Graham-Dixon, Howard Hodgkin, London 1994, pp. 103-104).

Despite the immediacy of his gestures, it often takes months of preparation for Hodgkin to execute a single brushstroke. Whilst the colours may be vivid and the brushstrokes energetic, the actual process of laying down the layers of paint may take a number of years and only end when the original inspiration finally appears in the artist’s mind. Painted over a prolonged period of time, the energetic brushwork and non-representational use of colour incorporates the scene from shifting viewpoints and with the changing perspectives caused by the passing of time. This non-representational depiction is further enhanced by Hodgkin’s refusal to contain his reminiscences within the confines of the traditional painted surface. His brushwork escapes the restrictions of the edge of his support (in this case, wood) and advances his gestures out towards and through the traditional painterly boundary of the frame. ‘My pictures are finished when the subject comes back,’ Hodgkin once told David Sylvester. ‘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).

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