Howard Hodgkin Venice Evening

Howard Hodgkin
Venice Evening 1984–5
Courtesy Gene and Nan Corman

Howard Hodgkin Venice Sunset 1989

Howard Hodgkin
Venice Sunset 1989
Private collection

In 1984 Hodgkin represented Britain in the XLI Venice Biennale. He chose to paint the walls of the British Pavilion eau de nil green, a colour similar to the walls of this gallery, to reflect and diffuse the shimmering light from the Venetian lagoon.

Following in the tradition of Canaletto and J.M.W. Turner, Hodgkin’s captivation with Venice resulted in a series of paintings. Venice Evening 1984–5 andVenice Sunset 1989 are among his smallest works and although composed of broad, gestural brushstrokes, they capture the changing illumination of the city with extraordinary accuracy. Rain 1984–9 evokes weather on a much larger scale – the cloudcover and downpour seem to surround the viewer. Over the years Hodgkin has recorded a vast range of atmospheric conditions. From radiant sunsets to ethereal mists and ominous storm clouds, his work demonstrates how light and weather can shape our moods and define our memories.