- What’s On
Sir Howard Hodgkin, who died in March, aged 84, was perhaps Britain’s best loved painter, known for his vivid broad-brush abstract paintings (he insisted they were figurative). His equally vivid personal collection will be sold at Sotheby’s on October 24. The seeds of Hodgkin’s interest in Eastern art were sown by Wilfred Blunt, his art teacher at Eton, and the things he surrounded himself with include lovely Iznik tiles, and a wonderful assortment of objects and furniture from different periods and styles from north Indian miniatures to Barque gentlemen in wigs. For anyone who knew the house, it must be ever so slightly heartbreaking. But there lies the rub – the sad enchantment of the salerooms.
In the introduction to the sale Sotheby’s writes:
‘The discreet exterior of Howard Hodgkin’s London home gave you no indication of the richness within; opening the door was like stepping into one of his most vibrant paintings. Objects from India to Italy, which suggest a modern day grand tour, were displayed side by side, heightened by the sensational jewel-like tones of the walls. The juxtaposition of objects was distinctive, unique and reflected the passions, friendships and inspirations that ran throughout Hodgkin’s life and work.
‘Hodgkin began collecting as a 14-year-old boy, and his first love was Indian paintings, encompassing those from the 17th to 20th centuries. His passion for Islamic art is less widely known – single tiles from the 16th and 17th centuries were hung in arresting wall displays with their own floral patterns rendered abstract in their solitude or grouped together as a more expansive decorative scheme. Sculpture, tapestries, carpets, furniture and objects – ‘‘costume jewellery for the home’’– abounded. Recurring themes permeate the works of art Hodgkin chose to surround himself with, and provide fascinating connections to his work.’