On 4 June the Alan Cristea Gallery is beginning a major selective retrospective of the prints of Howard Hodgkin. Approximately thirty prints spanning the past fifteen years will fill the gallery space, with each print demonstrating Hodgkin's command of colour and spontaneity as a printmaker.
Howard Hodgkin made his first print in 1953 and from the outset has been keen to make his prints quite distinct from his paintings. Often the prints have a sense of immediacy and simplicity. He says of Mango, Indian Tree and Moroccan Door, from 1990 "I tried to make them simple and in some way - not charming exactly - but soothing to the eye."
Each of the works in this selective retrospective were printed and editioned with the guidance of Jack Shirreff at the 107 Workshop in Wiltshire. Seafood is one of nine small hand-painted etchings made during a concentrated bout of activity in 2000-2001. The combination of printed mark and hand colouring is characteristic of Hodgkin's printmaking. This labour-intensive process is clearly in evidence in his Into the Woods series, conceived at the same time as these nine smaller etchings. Into the Woods consists of four immense hand-painted carborundum etchings. They are larger than most of his paintings and convey a vitality, almost a wildness, only hinted at previously in some of his unique works.
This exhibition coincides with the publication by Thames & Hudson of a complete catalogue raisonné of Howard Hodgkin's prints. A de-luxe version of the catalogue is accompanied by a hand-painted etching in an edition of 100, entitled Sea.