Howard Hodgkin in Paris

Howard Hodgkin, From the Head of the Bed, 2014 (courtesy of Gagosian Gallery)
Howard Hodgkin, From the Head of the Bed, 2014 (courtesy of Gagosian Gallery)

Jackie Wullschlager reviews an exhibition of paintings by Howard Hodgkin at Gagosian Gallery, Paris, on view through August 9, 2014.

Wullschlager writes: "Working within what he calls 'the classical wall of feeling that Degas has built for us', Hodgkin describes his paintings, which look mostly abstract, as 'representational pictures of emotional situations'. His current late style tempers rapture with restraint: this year’s 'From the Head of the Bed', for example, reprises the pinks and turquoises of 'Interior', simplifies its figural suggestions into horizontal slashes, and, in daringly extending its play-off between density of colour and patches of bare wood, suggests more eloquently then ever the fragmentary, elusory character of memory and desire... In their evasiveness, such works bring to mind Vuillard, and in their uneasy introspection Bonnard: a brilliant yellow/black snake-like form, streaking, rising, falling across grey, in another new painting, 'Disturbed Night' (2013-14), is as cogent a distillation of broken sleep and fractious, fractured, sexy dreams as any in modern art."