Bernard Jacobson Graphics is pleased to announce an exhibition of limited edition prints by Howard Hodgkin, which
focuses on the first two decades of his printmaking. The exhibition shows the artist’s early collaboration with Bernard
Jacobson, who published most of the prints on display.
The exhibition covers Hodgkin's early output between 1966 and 1986, starting with his early experiments in
printmaking such as the series '5 rooms.' In subsequent series the artist introduced the use of hand-colouring, and
enlarged prints to an oversized dimension, finally achieving a sculptural quality and lushness which became a signature
component of his printmaking practice.
Hodgkin became a printmaker in the 1960s and has since been impassioned with the process, inventing new techniques
and methods to develop his idea of printmaking.
Howard Hodgkin started his printmaking career with lithographs as the process was very similar to the directness of
applying paint to a canvas. In Girl on a Sofa, Bedroom and Indian Room we see interiors with brightly coloured geometric
shapes, sometimes recognizable as human figures or organic forms. After a voyage to India his interest turned towards
capturing a variety of views: views from his train window while crossing the country, views through shutters, or views
out of a window into landscape. He started painting borders around the image, which function as windows.
With hand-colouring, Hodgkin brought directness and spontaneity to his prints. As a result the texture became much
richer with the colour bleeding into the printing ink – a chance encounter which Hodgkin encouraged and accepted.
The hand-colouring could take place at any stage of the printing process and in the final print the many layers of paint
and ink become indistinguishable under the opulence of the final texture. However, Hodgkin was questioning the
autographic marks and decided to take on assistants who would execute the hand-coloring following his instructions.
He mused, “I want the language to be as impersonal as possible. […] I want to make marks that are anonymous as well
The oversized print Bleeding in the exhibition, with its richness of color, shows a development towards bolder prints. It
is one of the only prints with preparatory studies. Featuring his New York apartment, it contains decorative designs
that are inspired by Indian art as well as the Alhambra in Granada. His long-lived fascination with Indian culture and
the Indian landscape finds here an almost figurative expression.
Later under the guidance of his new printer Jack Shirreff, Hodgkin introduced the use of carborundum to his printing.
It allowed for deeper colors on a slightly embossed paper. As in the prints Red Listening Ear and Blue Listening Ear, the
texture of the prints becomes bolder and the hand-colouring is of increasing importance in these prints.
Howard Hodgkin was born in 1932 in London. He started his career as a painter and became a prolific printmaker. He
won the Turner Prize in 1985 and had important exhibitions in major museums around the world, including a major
retrospective touring the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London and the Reina Sofia in
Madrid in 2006. His work can be found in the collections of major museums, including MOMA, New York; the Tate
Gallery, London; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.