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August 21, 2002

Howard Hodgkin

Friedrich --


Are you a Hodgkin fan? I am, although I know that in edgier eyes that makes me a fuddyduddy. I take him, though, not as what he's often made out to be (Brit version of Matisse-esque AbExer), but as a more sizzling version of a Bloomsbury painter -- ie., all color, pattern, and suggestion. Not that, come to think of it, there's much difference between the two descriptions.

The colors are all hot and bothered -- flushed -- but the paintings are at the same time poised and contained, and I enjoy the combo. Let's hear it for sensuality-in-reserve. Which, as I type these words, reminds me what a fan I am of Grace Kelly too, another exemplar of the well-behaved-yet-hot-to-trot. (I read in a bio of Grace Kelly that, when she was a young actress studying in NYC, one of her ideas of a good time was to put on a grass skirt and dance the hula for her boyfriend...)

Naughty Princess

A cute quote from Hodgkin (taken from Saturday's Financial Times):

I think the reason that so few British artists have used colour since the pre-Raphaelites is that the British regard it as slightly pornographic. Look at Turner's sunsets -- they're the colour of tumescence, really.



posted by Friedrich at August 21, 2002


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