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Austin / Desmond Fine Art
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Howard Hodgkin: Indian Views

29th October 2021 - 30th November 2021

The first twenty years of Howard Hodgkin’s printmaking career was a period of experimentation of both ideas and techniques. It was not until his final year at Bath Academy of Art that he developed an interest in print making, inspired by the book jacket designs of Clifford and Rosemary Ellis. “I was first drawn to print-making by the desire to make multiples. My paintings are almost always one-offs.” It was the painter Henry Cliffe who introduced Hodgkin to lithography, but it was not a technique that came naturally and for his early career he favoured the more affordable and easily accessible form of screenprinting that best suited his style. His first true success with the medium came in 1964 when he was invited to contribute to Richard Hamilton’s ‘ICA Print Portfolio.’ Shown at the ICA Rooms in Dover Street London, this landmark exhibition it helped popularise British screenprinting in the 1960s contributing to the rise of Pop Art. It was through this project that Hodgkin came to work with Chris Prater at Kelpra Studios. Prater helped Hodgkin realise the possibilities of screenprinting and in 1971 they began a portfolio of twelve works entitled Indian Views.

We are pleased to present in our online viewing room a selection of works from the Indian Views portfolio. Inspired by Hodgkin’s many trips to India, the small rectangular forms aim to capture the Indian landscape viewed through the small holes around the edge of windows in old fashioned Indian railway carriages. Hodgkin described the prints as “…among the most literally representational works that I have produced and in format influenced by the shape and proportion of aeroplane windows and the windows of old fashioned Indian trains. They depict horizons, fields, mountains, skies, the sea and also different times of day.” Using materials like coloured plastic bicycle tape, corrugated cardboard and letrafilm, Hodgkin would draw over them with acrylic paint, chalk and crayon to create collages. The maquettes were often matchbox size and difficult to adapt to printing, frequently taking multiple attempts to achieve the correct results. The wide borders of the Indian Views acted as window frames that aimed to accentuate the size of the small colourful landscapes. This framing device would be seen in the majority of prints that followed.

So enamoured with the project Hodgkin returned to the idea in 1976 producing a further series of five prints entitled More Indian Views, this time making lithographs drawn on plates. The series Indian Views were Hodgkin’s first attempt at depicting his love of India and its culture that would inspire many of his later works.

Works are available to view upon request.

Indian View B
Howard Hodgkin
Indian View B, 1971

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