Although Hodgkin (b.1932) didn’t emerge as a major figure in British art until the 1970s the exhibition begins with paintings from the 1950s, revealing the early development of his singular visual language. The exhibition traces the evolution of his vocabulary through the portraits on canvas of friends and interiors of the 1960s, to his adoption in the mid 1970s of the wooden panel and frame, defining painting as object, and through to the later, looser and more gestural paintings of the 1990s. Displayed broadly chronologically, the exhibition includes a group of Venetian paintings from the 1980s and new work never seen before.
His prints are hand-painted etchings and he has worked with the same master printer (Jack Shirreff at 107 Workshop) and print publisher (Alan Cristea Gallery) for the last 25 years.Despite their apparent spontaneity and usually small scale, many of Hodgkin's paintings take years to complete, with him returning to a work after a wait and then changing it or adding to it. He often paints over the frames of his pictures, emphasising the idea of the painting as an object. Several of his works are on wooden items, such as bread-boards or the tops of old tables, rather than canvas. A number of his works not shown in frames are surrounded by rectangles of simple colour
On 9 March 2017, Hodgkin died peacefully at the age of 84 in a hospital in London. Tributes to Hodgkin were made by several figures in British art, including Tate director Nicholas Serota who described Hodgkin as "one of the great artists and colourists of his generation".(rogallery.com)