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Howard Hodgkin

Howard Hodgkin
Colour Poems

28th August - 30th September 2020

Online only

Howard Hodgkin’s works immediately draw you in with their intensity and the emotions expressed through the complex layering of colours. We are thrilled to present a selection of Hodgkin’s most celebrated and colourful original prints. Hovering between abstraction and figuration, Hodgkin’s titles often provide guides to ways of seeing and interpreting his work, while requiring the active participation of the viewer to navigate their way through the emotion or narrative being evoked. The mingling of memories, sensations, a mood — are all captured in these colour fields. Perhaps they can be seen as a form of visual poetry or signifiers. Certainly his belief that art should be concerned with the communication of pure aesthetic emotion through form and that words stand in between the work and the viewer, clearly demonstrates his need for these abstract works to speak for themselves.

We present here a selection of Howard Hodgkin evocative prints with hand-colouring, representative of the artist’s mastery of printmaking and sensitivity to colour.

‘I believe that words are often extraneous to what I do…words come between the spectator and the image’. 

Howard Hodgkin.

Howard Hodgkin working in the print studio

Over the past two decades Howard Hodgkin has experimented with printmaking, combining hand-colouring with lift-ground aquatint and carborundum.  Using a range of different grains of resin in the aquatint grounds, from fine to very coarse, has varied the texture of areas of his prints.  Hodgkin exploited these various techniques with particular intensity in his large 1995 prints the ‘Venetian Views’, deemed Hodgkin’s most ambitious and elaborate print project. Venice, Afternoon is one of four prints Hodgkin worked on, each work was printed from the same five plates, but they changed in appearance and mood due to variations in the ink colours used with the plates and the differences in hues and imagery in the hand-coloured plates.  Venice, Afternoon, along with Venice, Morning and Venice, Evening is printed on sixteen sheets of paper, aligned in rows of four, as if to evoke the huge multiple sheet woodcuts of bird’s eye views of Venice published in the Renaissance. In their richly worked surface the ‘Venetian Views’ assume the same weight as his paintings, with the intricate interplay between printed and painted marks.

Howard Hodgkin
Venice, Afternoon

Etching with aquatint and carborundum in colours, with hand-colouring, 1995.
From ‘Venetian Views’.
Signed and dated in pencil. Inscribed ‘proof’, a proof aside from the edition of 60.
Printed on 16 sheets of Arches wove paper by the 107 Workshop, Wiltshire.
Published by Alan Cristea Gallery, London.
(Heenk 94).
160 x 169.5


‘I want my pictures to be things. I want them to be made up of marks that are physically and individually self-sufficient’.

Howard Hodgkin.

Howard Hodgkin
David's Pool at Night

Soft-ground etching and aquatint, with hand-colouring, 1979-85.
Signed and dated in pencil, numbered from the edition of 100. Printed on Hahnemühle mould-made paper by Atelier Crommelynck, Paris.
Published by Petersburg Press, New York.
(Heenk 54).
Printed from the same plate as ‘David’s Pool’ (cf. Heenk 55).
64.7 x 78.7 cm.

Howard Hodgkin
Late Afternoon in the Museum of Modern Art

Soft-ground etching printed in black, 1979.
Signed and dated in red crayon, numbered from the edition of 100 (total edition includes 20 artist’s proofs).
Printed on buff BFK Rives mould-made paper by Petersburg Studios, New York.
Published by Petersburg Press, New York.
(Heenk 50)
75.5 x 100 cm


Hodgkin’s fascination with large travel posters, seen in the metro in Paris in the late 1950s and early 1960s, is expressed in a series of four large intaglio prints made with carborundum between 1990 and 1991 that include Flowering Palm and Night Palm. The sense of immediacy, spontaneity and directness of the Palm series achieves a similar aesthetic to the posters, with their simple forms, large size, bright hues and straightforward nature.  These large Parisian posters were the only kind of print Hodgkin ever consciously tried to imitate.


‘The only way an artist can communicate with the world at large is on the level of feeling’, 

Howard Hodgkin

Howard Hodgkin

Lithograph printed in colours, with hand-colouring, 1981-82.
Signed and dated in pencil, numbered from the edition of 100. Published by Cinda Sparling, New York.
91.6 x 152 cm

Howard Hodgkin

Aquatint with hand-colouring, 1973-78.
Signed in pencil, inscribed ‘AP’, an artist’s proof (aside from the edition of 50).
Printed on cream Velin Arches mould-made paper.
Printed and published by Petersburg Studios, London.
(Heenk 45).
20.6 x 31 cm.

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