News / Art

Howard Hodgkin’s long-lost painting has been rediscovered for The Hepworth Wakefield exhibition

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Howard Hodgkin: From the House of Bhupen Khakhar, 1975-1976. Fish Creek Partners – Wilson, Wyoming. Photograph by Michael Jackson, Courtesy of The Hepworth Wakefield

In conjunction with the upcoming exhibition, Howard Hodgkin: Painting India, at The Hepworth Wakefield, a painting has been rediscovered that depicts the artist’s significant relationship with his close friend, Bhupen Khakhar.

From The House of Bhupen Khakhar by Howard Hodgkin was last traced in 1978 and has since, until recently, been the topic of many investigations for its return. Marked as one of his “most prized works” from the collection by the wife of Hollywood executive, Alan J. Hirschfield, there was a sigh of relief to hear that the painting had made a recovery.

Hodgkin and Khakhar first met in 1975 at the Third Triennale-India in New Delhi, where their relationship was formed in company with a new-found enchantment for India. The Hepworth Wakefield will open its doors on 1 July to a comprehensive collection of work by Hodgkin and, covering an expansive time period, aims to offer an insight into his life as an artist and his brazen fascination with India. “I fell in love with Indian art when I was at school, thanks to the enterprising art master, Wilfrid Blunt. I longed to visit India, but only managed to do so in my early 30s,” said Hodgkin following a visit to The Hepworth Wakefield in 2016.

“It proved a revelation. It changed my way of thinking and, probably, the way I paint. I am excited by the idea of this exhibition and delighted it will take place in David Chipperfield’s remarkable building, The Hepworth Wakefield, where I greatly enjoyed the show of paintings by Stanley Spencer.”

Approximately 35 works from the last 50 years that will be exhibited, alongside a personal journal from the artist himself. This covers Hodgkin’s earliest India-inspired paintings from the 1960s, as well as new works completed in the country earlier this year — the last before his death in March. India was a place where Hodgkin returned to almost annually from his first trip in 1964, which then turned into an enduring love affair that was the root for many of his paintings.

Simon Wallis OBE, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield, said: “It has been a huge privilege for us to have worked so closely with Howard in preparation for this extensive exhibition. His death is a great loss to us all. We are proud to be releasing an exhibition about the influence of India on his work, a place that he was so passionate about, and from which he drew such inspiration throughout his life. It’ll be a perfect summer exhibition in our beautiful gallery spaces with all the colour and warmth of a country that Howard developed such a close relationship to.”

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Howard Hodgkin: Howard Hodgkin and Bhupen Khakhar in Khakhar’s studio, undated. Howard Hodgkin Archive, Courtesy of The Hepworth Wakefield