Turner Prize winner Howard Hodgkin dead at 84

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Sir Howard Hodgkin, a British abstract artist who won the Turner Prize, has died aged 84.

The Tate Gallery confirmed the news, saying: “With much sadness we report the death of Howard Hodgkin, who passed peacefully today.”

Calling the painter “one of the greatest artists of his generation”, Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota said Hodgkin died “peacefully in hospital in London”.

“His sensuous, intense paintings were infused with his love and understanding of late 19th Century French painting,” he added, quoting the artist’s main references as Degas, Vuillard and Bonnard.

“And by his feeling for the heat and colours of India, which he visited on many occasions.”

Howard Hodgkin's painting for the London 2012 Olympics Image Caption: Howard Hodgkin’s painting for the London 2012 Olympics

Some of Sir Howard’s most famous works were his Indian Waves, which consisted of brushes of oil on wood.

“Over the past 30 years, Howard’s international standing has continued to grow with major exhibitions in Europe and America,” Sir Nicholas said.

“His characteristic subject, the memory of a meeting or a conversation with a friend, resulted in paintings that radiate the emotions of life – love, anger, vanity, beauty and companionship.”

Howard Hodgkin posing next to a detail of his painting Where The Deer And The Antelope Play Image Caption: Howard Hodgkin posing next to a detail of his painting Where The Deer And The Antelope Play

Sir Howard was one of the artists invited to paint a poster for the London 2012 Olympics. His Swimming painting was one of the 12 art works featured in the Games.

Sir Howard’s death comes just days before the National Portrait Gallery opens the first exhibition on portraits by the artist.

Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends will feature more than 50 works from collections around the world, dating from 1949 to the present as well as some new and unseen portraits.

Anthony Hill and Gillian Wise by Howard Hodgkin Image Caption: Anthony Hill and Gillian Wise by Howard Hodgkin

It will open on 23 March and feature some of his most famous abstract works and portraits featuring other artists such as David Hockney and Patrick Caulfield.

Born in London in 1932, he was evacuated to the US during the Second World War but later return to study art in Britain.

Representing the country at the Venice Biennale and was knighted in 1992, but never considered himself to be “very successful”.

“It’s a very lonely occupation being a painter,” he once said.

“I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody.”

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