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Those…Plants by Howard Hodgkin

Those…Plants by Howard Hodgkin

Petersburg Press

Color Etching and Aquatint


Edition Size: 100

Sheet Size: 30 x 40 inches

Reference: Elizabeth Knowles, Howard Hodgkin: Prints 1977 to 1983, Tate Gallery, London 1985, no. 28 illustrated Liesbeth Heenk, Howard Hodgkin Prints: A Catalogue Raisonné, Thames and Hudson, London 2003, no. 58 illustrated.


Condition: Pristine

Details — Click to read

Etching with hand coloring in watercolor (a yellow wash) and gouache (in green), on Stoneridge mould-made etching paper. Signed by the artist with initials and dated 1980 lower center in black crayon; numbered lower left in black crayon.

The intended title for this print was “Those F***ing Plants,” an excerpt from a conversation Hodgkin had overheard. Around each corner of the print, a brilliant stripe of green outlines the image field, as if the viewer were looking through an eye, or peering through a frame. The back of a figure’s head is printed in dark red. Quick brushstrokes form the stem and leaves of plants, silhouetted by window blinds.

This atmospheric image expresses Hodgkin’s lifelong attempt to capture single moments in time and infuse them with feeling and observation. Through his extensive collaborations with Petersburg Press, Hodgkin began to use hand coloring as a means to charge his images with urgency, and create a complex play between layers and techniques.

Much of Hodgkin’s work in the late 70s and early 80s features moody interior scenes. The human form is reduced to a bust, or obscured by layers of ink. He combined wide swaths of shadow with fluid and spontaneous marks to create ambiguous spatial arrangements. Though parts of this particular composition are recognizable, the narrative behind Those…Plants remains mysterious.


The Artist

Howard Hodgkin

British printmaker and painter Howard Hodgkin is most associated with the abstract style. Exhibiting his first works in 1962, he created continuously up to his death at age 84 in 2017. London-born Hodgkin studied at first Camberwell Art School and then the Bath Academy of Art. His first works used only a few colours and curved forms, though this evolved over time. Later pieces used brighter and bolder colours and forms and had a more immediate, spontaneous quality. His most famous work is a series of paintings of Venice, known as the ‘Venetian Views’. It shows the ancient watery city at various times of the day. ‘Venice Afternoon’ is seen as the exceptional work in the quartet. Its creation was achieved through a complex printing process which used many layers and an incredibly complex printing process to build up its colourful effect. It is now on display at the Yale Centre of British Art in New Haven, Connecticut, in the USA. Howard Hodgkin created an abstract screen print on paper called ‘Swimming’ for the London 2012 Olympics. He won premier art award the Turner Prize in 1985, was knighted in 1992 and awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Oxford in 2000.

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