Howard Hodgkin

Andre Emmerich Gallery

Howard Hodgkin’s paintings bear such evident marks of his borrowing from predecessors that they are pictures about the dynamics of influence as much as they are about their nominal subjects. The presence of Seurat in Hodgkin’s frames within frames is immediately apparent, as is that of Matisse in Hodgkin’s bright colors and his attraction to landscape seen through windows. This is not to say that Hodgkin’s works are directly imitative. In fact, what is extraordinary about them is the degree to which they can candidly admit the weighty influence of these past artists while still maintaining their autonomy.

It is not through any assertive, novel devices that these pictures confront Seurat and Matisse (and early Kandinsky, and some others). Rather, Hodgkin faces the past with a kind of encompassing joviality, as if gently parodying his precursors while at once parodying himself will sweep all

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