Roger Wright’s favourite paint­ing

The CEO of Snape Malt­ings is de­lighted by Sir Howard Hodgkin’s Ice Cream

Country Life Every Week - - Contents - Roger Wright is the CEO of Snape Malt­ings, where the an­nual Alde­burgh Fes­ti­val runs from June 9 to 25 this year. The Snape Malt­ings Con­cert Hall is cel­e­brat­ing its 50th an­niver­sary Roger Wright

‘I have al­ways loved the work of Howard Hodgkin and, with his re­cent death, I turned again to his vi­brant out­put, par­tic­u­larly his re­cent col­lec­tion “Af­ter All”. This is joy­ous late work, which also has a touch­ingly ele­giac qual­ity. Hav­ing moved to work on the idyl­lic Suf­folk coast, I find that Ice Cream has a new res­o­nance for me. It is one of a num­ber of these re­lief prints that cel­e­brate the plea­sures of sim­ple food and drink. Its typ­i­cally pow­er­ful brush­strokes and jux­ta­posed gor­geous colours give a heart­warm­ing and evoca­tive sense of fun and nos­tal­gia ’

Sir Howard Hodgkin, who died in March, con­nois­seur, in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned col­lec­tor of 16th- to 19th-cen­tury in­dian pic­tures and ac­claimed pain­ter (knighted 1992), had a Quaker hered­ity of artis­tic and sci­en­tific dis­tinc­tion. His cousin was Eliot Hodgkin, the still-life pain­ter, who had ‘won­der­ful paint­ings by Corot and de­gas’. roger Fry, art critic and founder of Blooms­bury’s omega work­shops, was a cousin and his name­sake Luke Howard (1772– 1864), ‘fa­ther of me­te­o­rol­ogy’, named the clouds (cu­mu­lus, cir­rus and so on).

when he ran away from Eton, the po­lice­man who ar­rested him asked him why. ‘Be­cause i want to be an artist,’ he replied. The po­lice­man heartily ap­proved. nev­er­the­less, Sir Howard didn’t ex­hibit un­til he was 30 and be­gan mak­ing prints in his for­ties.

His print pub­lisher and dealer Alan Cris­tea per­suaded him to re­turn to print­mak­ing in old age af­ter a long gap. Sir Howard was in poor health, but rose to the oc­ca­sion, mak­ing a suite of 18 hand-painted re­lief prints in two edi­tions with the print­maker An­drew Smith and his team. They are do­mes­tic in size, rich in colour and lus­ciously ges­tu­ral in ex­pres­sion, a style that first emerged in his paint­ing in the late 1970s, but never more lav­ishly than in these vale­dic­tory works, which have names with ti­tles sug­gest­ing food, places and weather.

He dis­liked his paint­ings be­ing called ‘ab­stract’, the ti­tles in­di­cat­ing there was al­ways a sub­ject, how­ever per­sonal. This was il­lus­trated by his choice of favourite paint­ing (Au­gust 25, 2010): the ul­ti­mate ab­strac­tion­ist Piet Mon­drian’s Broad­way Boo­gie Woo­gie.

Sir Howard’s lat­est ex­hi­bi­tions are ‘Ab­sent Friends’ (na­tional Por­trait gallery, un­til June 18) and ‘Paint­ing in­dia’ (Hep­worth wake­field, July 1– oc­to­ber 8).

Ice Cream, 2015–16, by Sir Howard Hodgkin (1932–2017), 30in by 44½in, hand­painted carbo­ran­dum print re­lief

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