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"Frank Hodgkinson: European Sketchbook Drawings"
2006-07-19 until 2006-09-17
Art Gallery of New South Wales
The gallery is pleased to present for the first time an exhibition of sketchbooks and sketchbook drawings from the collection, by Sydney artist Frank Hodgkinson. Frank Hodgkinson (1919 - 2001) is remembered for his large abstract paintings inspired by the natural, earthy qualities of the Australian bush and his experience of Europe, especially Spain, where he lived for long periods in the decades following the Second World War. However, drawing formed the cornerstone of Hodgkinson's art from the very beginning, and remained a central part of his practice.
This focus exhibition presents sketchbooks and sketchbook drawings made by Frank Hodgkinson between the years 1945 and 1948, when he was in his twenties. Included are three bound sketchbooks as well as a number of loose sketchbook drawings made by the artist when he first discovered the towns and cities of Europe as a young man, released from war service.
Hodgkinson used sketchbooks extensively during the war because of difficulties presented by the serviceman's life; they were often the only practical and reliable way to practice his art while on the move. Included also is an early drawing he made in Borneo in 1945 of a dead Japanese soldier, the making of which almost costing the artist his life. As he drew, Hodgkinson was spotted by the enemy and had to beat a hasty retreat under fire.
Paris, London, and Florence are the principal subject of the sketchbook drawings, and the focus of the exhibition. In the drawings, Hodgkinson depicted cities still recovering from the devastations wrought by war, including the daily life of the local populace, as well as the eternal qualities of venerable centres of historical and artistic significance. The immediacy and intimacy of the drawings remain their most appealing quality. Hodgkinson's facility with his favoured mediums of pencil, pen, ink and wash, and his obvious pleasure in discovering the great European art centres for the first time, are palpable.
Frank Hodgkinsin Fiesole
1947 Gift of the artist 2000
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