In Summer 2017, we will stage the first comprehensive exhibition to explore the enduring influence of India on Hodgkin’s work, a place he returned to almost annually, since his first trip to the country in 1964, over 50 years ago.
On display will be more than 35 works, painted over the last 50 years, which characterise the colour and warmth of India and capture the artist’s sensory impressions of the country - from fierce blazing sunsets to heavy oppressive rains, landscapes and cities he has visited, and portraits of the people he has befriended. They range from Hodgkin’s earliest India-inspired paintings of the 1960s through to new works completed early this year. It will include a number of paintings that have never before been exhibited in the UK.
We will also present rarely seen photographs and documents from Hodgkin’s personal archive including material relating to his 1992 British Council commission in New Delhi with the architect Charles Correa, as well as journals kept by the artist documenting his journeys in India, to be displayed publicly for the first time. These will be shown alongside works from the artist’s personal collection of Indian art, which first led Hodgkin to visit the country and provoked his enduring love affair with the place and its people.
Speaking in 2016, Howard Hodgkin said: “I fell in love with Indian art when I was at school, thanks to the enterprising art master, Wilfrid Blunt. I longed to visit India, but only managed to do so in my early thirties. It proved a revelation. It changed my way of thinking and, probably, the way I paint. I am excited by the idea of this exhibition and delighted it will take place in David Chipperfield's remarkable building, The Hepworth Wakefield, where I greatly enjoyed the show of paintings by Stanley Spencer.”
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by Lund Humphries, with contributions from Shanay Jhavery, Associate Curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Geeta Kapur, noted critic and art historian, among others.
The Howard Hodgkin: Painting India exhibition takes place as part of the UK-India Year of Culture. In 2017, the UK and India will launch a major bilateral year of cultural exchange, to celebrate their shared long and rich history.