Frances Hodgkins: Paintings and Drawings

By Iain Buchanan; Michael Dunn et al. | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

'She has kept the artist well in front of the human being', wrote Frances Hodgkins approvingly in 1943 of Myfanwy Evans's draft for the first monograph (in the Penguin Modern Painters series) on her work. 1 Frances Hodgkins: Paintings and Drawings aims to retrieve and develop that close attention to the art. Fifty years on, our project is, we feel, more than timely, given Hodgkins's considerable significance as an artist, particularly over the last two decades of her life when she was among the artists at the forefront of British modernism. For while much has been written on Frances Hodgkins's life, notably the invaluable biographical studies of E. H. McCormick, 2 and while much unpublished material, including letters, survives, surprisingly little analysis of her art in relation to its shifting contexts and in terms of close readings of individual works has been achieved. 3

A crop of smallish exhibitions both in New Zealand and in Britain clearly bear testimony to a recent resurgence of interest in Hodgkins in both countries. 4 In Britain this has developed both as a result of a general reassessment of artists of the years 1920-1950 -- Cedric Morris and Cecil Collins, for instance -- and of the reevaluation of neglected women artists such as Winifred Nicholson. 5 In New Zealand Hodgkins is regarded as the major historical expatriate artist and as something of a cultural icon, being seen as an exemplar of the complex issues surrounding expatriatism, of crucial concern until relatively recently to a country like New Zealand. 6 Useful perspectives on Hodgkins's situation as a woman artist have emerged 7 and the 1993 publication -- in New Zealand's women's suffrage centenary year -- of Letters of Frances Hodgkins has provided a wonderfully rich and engaging resource for further Hodgkins art-historical study. 8 Our intention then has been to shift the focus back to the work. Frances Hodgkins's own expression, 'artist well in front of the human being', does not necessarily imply a separation, but a prioritising of the work in relation to the life and this emphasis has been enormously enriched by the material now available both on the artist's life and on the lives of other artists of the period. Our project has something in common with two other recent studies of women artists: Frida Kahlo and Berthe Morisot. Both, like Hodgkins, have been the subject of full biographies which were subsequently

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Frances Hodgkins: Paintings and Drawings
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1869-1913 7
  • 1914-1930 30
  • 1931-1947 Elizabeth Eastmond 53
  • Colour Plates 87
  • Chronology 168
  • Exhibitions 172
  • Bibliography 175
  • List of Colour Plates 178
  • List of Figures 180
  • Index 183
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