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Howard Hodgkin on Seurat

To coincide with a retrospective exhibition of his work (currently at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, then travelling to Tate Britain and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid later in the year), Howard Hodgkin reflects on works by Seurat in the Courtauld institute of Art Gallery. Interview by John-Paul Stonard.

Howard Hodgkin

Part 1: Drawing and Painting

Part 2: Divisionism

Part 3: Caricature and Calm

Part 4: Seurat's Bathers


Pochade: Small oil sketch, often made in outdoors, then used as a study for larger studio paintings.

Divisionism: Term invented by Paul Signac referring to the separation of colour into small points or patches, painted directly onto the support. The division of colours avoids the dullness caused by the physical mixing of pigments, relying rather on optical mixing of colours when the painting is seen from a distance, resulting in brilliance of hue. The term 'divisionism' refers to the division of colours thus; the term 'pointillism' refers to the dots that those such as Seurat used to carry the division of colour.

Tenebrism: Modern term used to describe a style of seventeenth-century painting, particularly that of Caravaggio, characterised by an extensive use of shadow and darkness and sparse, dramatic, light areas.

Reading list

John Russell, Seurat (World of Art Series), pub. Thames & Hudson, 01/01/1985 www.amazon.co.uk

Richard Morphet, Encounters: New Art from Old, pub. National Gallery Co Ltd, 19/06/2000 www.amazon.co.uk

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