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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Frances Hodgkins: Colour and Light

Spend an afternoon meandering through the Auckland Art Gallery’s exhibition of never before publicly displayed works by artist Frances Hodgkins and you won’t be disappointed.
By Karina Abadia
January 23, 2012
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By Karina Abadia
January 23, 2012
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Spend an afternoon meandering through Auckland Art Gallery’s exhibition of never before publicly displayed works by artist Frances Hodgkins, and you won’t be disappointed.

Widely recognised as the country's most significant expatriate modernist painter of the twentieth century, Hodgkins was born in Dunedin but spent the majority of her career in Europe and the United Kingdom. She was respected among British avant-garde society and by the later stages of her career had become a key figure in British Modernism.

In 2007, Auckland Art Gallery acquired 20 of her paintings but interestingly enough, exactly how these works came to be in a private collection in France remains a mystery. It is believed they were painted in the first decade of the 20th century and were left in a drawing folio before the original owner's family discovered them.

When Hodgkins exhibited similar watercolours in Sydney and Melbourne in 1912-13, she told a reviewer how she had gone to England in 1901 looking for colour and light. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she was unable to find what she was looking for and so  'fled to France.' However, it was her trip to Morocco the same year that created a turning point in her work. The Mediterranean with it's simplicity of architectural forms, sparkling light and vibrant colour had a major impact on her work and she eventually incorporated these elements into her highly individual style.

No self-respecting art lover should miss the unique opportunity to view these little known works by a highly influential New Zealand expat.

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