From the moment he appeared on the art scene, Hodgkin has taken a unique path. As a young artist he was close friends with some of the emerging stars of the 1960s but his painting style remained distinct from art movements typically associated with this era, such as Pop art. Many of Hodgkin’s early paintings refer to his personal experience of Britain’s vibrant scene through representations of his artist friends.
Although traditional in subject matter, these are not conventional portraits. In Mr and Mrs Robyn Denny 1960, Hodgkin moves away from depicting the physical appearance of his subjects. He combines figuration and abstraction to capture instead the feeling of being in the presence of this fashionable young couple. representations of his artist friends.
Other paintings refer to local, domestic spaces where social gatherings occurred, such as Acacia Road 1966. The picture plays hide-and-seek with reality as fragmented forms and painterly symbols allude to individuals and objects within an interior space.