What to see this week

Country Life Every Week - - Athena -

Howard Hodgkin: Ab­sent Friends is at the Na­tional Por­trait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London WC2, from March 23 to June 18 (020– 7321 6600; www.npg.org.uk/ hodgkin) This first ex­hi­bi­tion of Hodgkin’s por­traits is a fit­ting memo­rial to the great Bri­tish painter, who died two weeks ago aged 84. For all their ab­stract qual­ity, Hodgkin’s works are rooted in their sub­ject. He called him­self ‘a rep­re­sen­ta­tional painter, but not a painter of ap­pear­ances’ and de­vel­oped a vis­ual lan­guage to con­vey the emo­tions as­so­ci­ated with a sit­u­a­tion or per­son, to cap­ture mem­ory. The ex­hi­bi­tion traces the de­vel­op­ment of his por­trai­ture from 1949 to his lat­est paint­ings, among his sub­jects Peter Blake, Pa­trick Caulfield and David Hock­ney (left: DH in Hol­ly­wood, 1980–84).

The Royal So­ci­ety of Bri­tish Artists 300th An­nual Open Ex­hi­bi­tion is at the Mall Gal­leries, The Mall, London SW1, un­til April 1 (www.mall­gal­leries.org.uk) Sell­ing show of more than 550 paint­ings, draw­ings, prints and sculp­ture sourced from mem­ber artists and through open sub­mis­sion. Prices start at £125.

This spring sees two ma­jor solo ex­hi­bi­tions ded­i­cated to one of Bri­tain’s most re­spected ab­stract artists. at Alan Cris­tea Gallery, 43, Pall Mall, London SW1, un­til April 22 (020–7439 1866; www.alan­cristea.com) fea­tures early paint­ings not seen be­fore along­side new ones and re­cent wood­cut prints. The largest ever show of the 87 year old’s work is at the Na­tional Mu­seum, Cardiff, from April 8 to Septem­ber 3 (www.mu­seum.wales/cardiff). A new mono­graph, Gil­lian Ayres, by Martin Gay­ford and David Cleaton-roberts, is pub­lished by Art/books.

High­land—con­struc­tion of an Iden­tity is at The Fine Art So­ci­ety in Ed­in­burgh, 6, Dun­das Street, Ed­in­burgh EH3, un­til April 15 (0131– 557 4050; www.fased­in­burgh.com) Works for sale by ac­claimed artists such as Sir D. Y. Cameron and Ho­ra­tio Mc­cul­loch raise ques­tions of iden­tity and Ro­man­ti­cism through their fo­cus on the phys­i­cal and cul­tural land­scape of the High­lands.

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