T01876 IN A HOTEL GARDEN 1968–74
Oil on plywood, 42 1/8×50 (107×127)
Purchased from Alex Reid & Lefevre Ltd. (Gytha Trust) 1974
Exh: An Exhibition of Contemporary British Painters and Sculptors, Lefevre Gallery, April–May 1974 (15, repr., dated 1974); International Biennial Exhibition of Figurative paintings in Tokyo (New Image in Painting), Tokyo Department Store, Shibuya, Tokyo, September 1974 (repr. in unnumbered catalogue) and tour to Hanshin Department Store, Osaka, November 1974; Howard Hodgkin, Forty-five paintings 1949–1975, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, March–April 1976 (41, repr. in colour), and tour to London (Serpentine Gallery, May), Leigh, Newcastle-upon- Tyne, Aberdeen and Sheffield, to October 1976
The artist told the compiler (interview, 1975, and letter, 21 March 1977) that this painting represented John Kasmin and himself sitting under palm trees in the brilliant white courtyard of the Grand Hotel, Calcutta, in October 1968. Although much of the picture is dark, the entire scene represented is out of doors in bright daylight. The heat was intense. ‘The courtyard of the Grand Hotel was shabby and full of green shutters on the surrounding windows, and palm trees. The floor of the courtyard was occupied by a terrazzo pool in characteristic Indian Hotel sub Art Deco style’.
Hodgkin began work on this painting on his return from India in 1968. It ‘gave me much trouble because of the complex and literal nature of the subject’. Hodgkin remembers showing it to a friend when it was half completed, and feeling as he showed it that he might never be able to finish it. Against the terrazzo pool ‘could once be seen the figures of Kasmin and myself. The brown paint was a final desperate attempt to contain the intensity (in every sense) of the scene. But all the original ingredients of the view were once present’. This is the only painting Hodgkin has made of this scene.
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978