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Howard Hodgkin

Howard Hodgkin in his studio, London, April 11, 2007. Photo: David Sandison/The Independent/REX/Shutterstock.

THE ENGLISH PAINTER Howard Hodgkin, who died on March 9 of this year at the age of eighty-four, came from a privileged background, went to the best schools, and became widely popular in his native land, which showered him with accolades that included a knighthood. Yet Hodgkin claimed to have come from humble circumstances, thought of himself as an outsider, and once said that England was “enemy territory” for painters. His own sense of himself was not what people made of him, and when he spoke, as he often did, of the painted frames that were integral to his compositions, it was to stress how the vulnerable interiors of these works had to be secured to protect them from what was outside.

He kept his paintings fortified while they were in process. When one entered his bright, white London studio, not far from the British Museum, no works would be in sight; all were hidden, turned

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