ELIOT HODGKINBritish 1905 - 1987

ELIOT HODGKINBritish 1905 - 1987

Eliot Hodgkin is primarily remembered for his highly detailed still life paintings of flowers and fruit. He often executed his paintings in tempera - an egg based paint suited to fine detail. Born at Purley, Berkshire, Hodgkin studied at Byam Shaw School of Art and at the Royal Academy Schools under Ernest Jackson. He exhibited widely, including at the Royal Academy (London), Wildenstein , Leicester Galleries, NEAC, RBA and in New York. Among his books are She Closed the Door, 1931, and Views of London, 1948. The Tate Gallery holds his work.

Hodgkin sought to show things “exactly as they are, yet with some of their mystery and poetry, and as though seen for the first time.” Our work has a filmic quality - the three vases are lit in a harsh artificial light from below making them appear as if on a gas lit stage. Hodgkin has eschewed the softer palate and lines of Morandi for more statuesque forms. The number of vases and their distinct shapes recall a family group. Although ostensibly a simple composition, this still life is open to a number of interesting interpretations.

In a response to an enquiry from the editors of The Studio in 1957 Eliot Hodgkin described his purpose and interest in still life as “to show the beauty of natural objects which are normally thought uninteresting or even unattractive.. I try to look at quite simple things as though I were seeing them for the first time and as though no one had ever painted them before.”

Hodgkin was also a notable collector. A selection from his own collection was shown in a memorial exhibition at Hazlitt, Gooden and Fox in 1990, and it included works by Sir Thomas Lawrence, Corot, Rubens, Graham Sutherland, Degas, and Japanese prints.