Interior designer Martin Brudnizki chooses Waking Up in Naples by Howard Hodgkin.
Martin Brudnizki on Waking Up in Naples by Howard Hodgkin
I almost chose Édouard Vuillard, but decided on Hodgkin instead. It is no surprise he was inspired by the French interiors painter – his blotches of colour blurring objects and landscapes in similar dreamlike fashion, creating that senseof a scene or a scene full of senses.
It is Hodgkin’s use of colour that has always attracted me. The tones here are slightly muted, but each shade is appealing.
I also admire Hodgkin for his use of frames – he finds an answer to the ultimate of questions, is the frame a part of the artwork? Here he creates one in a most satisfying way, by framing the scene with four bold brush strokes.
Martin Brudnizki is the founder of his eponymous interior architecture and design practice. His projects include Annabel’s, London W1, and the University Arms hotel in Cambridge.
Charlotte Mullins comments on Waking Up in Naples by Howard Hodgkin
Howard Hodgkin was a Colourist who lived and breathed the past. His vivid paintings were recollections of intense experiences. But translating sensations, smells, feelings and moods into strokes of paint was never easy and, sometimes, it would take him years to feel he had captured the moment.
Despite each painting having a specific memory at its core — often suggested by the work’s title — they appear abstract, comprising broad stripes, swirls and splotches of colour.
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Waking Up in Naples is filled with heat. The painted orange frame offers a warm contrast to the turquoise brushstrokes that evoke the sea, as red blooms and sensuous curves undulate below. These could suggest a nude reclining on a bed by a window, with balcony railings and flowerpots framing an azure sea. But nothing coheres and, ultimately, this remains an abstract feast for the eye. By translating his highly charged memory into sensual colour, Hodgkin conveys the intensity of his recalled feelings.
Hodgkin was a voracious traveller and spent much time in southern Italy and India, where the light was hot and the colours zinged. He drew on the work of earlier Colourists — Henri Matisse, Édouard Vuillard — but created his own language that hovered between figuration and abstraction.
This painting was completed in 1984, the year he represented Britain in the prestigious Venice Biennale. Many believed he would win the inaugural Turner Prize that year, but he had to wait until 1985 for the accolade.
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