The 150th anniversary of one of New Zealand’s most famous expat artists has inspired a major new exhibition and book, and collaborations from two of Britomart’s leading fashion designers.
Frances Hodgkins, Self Portrait: Still Life, circa 1935, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1963
Born in Dunedin in 1869, Frances Hodgkins grew up to become a pioneering artist in the British Modernism movement, a lifelong traveller and feminist spirit. From Saturday 4 May, the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is launching a major retrospective of her work, Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys,
More than 150 artworks from around the world have been assembled to trace “creative and peripatetic life through France, Morocco and Spain to her final days in England, examining the influence of location on her development as a modernist painter and the notion of travel and journeying as a source of artistic inspiration.”
Frances Hodgkins, Red Jug, 1931, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1982
Auckland Art Gallery Senior Curator, International Art, Mary Kisler says the exhibition is the result of almost a decade-long research project that saw her retracing Hodgkins’ extensive journeys throughout Europe. “Apart from the periods of the two World Wars, Hodgkins moved on average six times a year, travelling from place to place in search of inspiration for her work. She tended to move to locations nearer the Mediterranean where she found stimulus from artists’ communities, including Martigues, St Tropez, Cassis, Ibiza and the Costa Brava.”
This free spiritedness and independence has inspired Karen Walker to create a range of exclusive travel-inspired accessories, reflecting Hodgkins’ nomadic and adventurous lifestyle, which will be launched alongside the exhibition. To create the range, Frances Hodgkins: Framed by Karen Walker, Walker was granted exclusive access to the Gallery’s collection of Hodgkins’ artwork, the largest collection of the artist’s work in the world.
“Frances Hodgkins was the original “Runaway Girl”,” Walker says. “Her life was full of purpose, adventure and independence. Our work has always been inspired by strong female stories and women with outsider points of view and adventurous spirits.”
Kate Sylvester’s current-season collection, Frances Show, has also been inspired by Hodgkins’ work, utilising bold graphic prints that have been reworked from original Frances Hodgkins textile designs from the Te Papa archives.
The exhibition Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys is accompanied by a substantial publication of the same name, edited by Auckland Art Gallery’s Catherine Hammond and Mary Kisler, and co-published between the Gallery and Auckland University Press (AUP). The book explores Hodgkins as a traveller across cultures and landscapes – teaching and discovering the Cubists in Paris, absorbing the landscape and light of Ibiza and Morocco, and exhibiting with the progressive Seven & Five Society in London.
Frances Hodgkins, Harbour, South of France, circa 1931, Private Collection, Sydney
We have five one-year memberships to Auckland Art Gallery, Toī O Tamaki to give away to art (and fashion) lovers. To enter to win, follow us at our @britomartlookbooknz Instagram and tag a friend on our Frances Hodgkins post. The winners will be drawn at 5pm on Tuesday 30 April, so you’ll have it in time for the exhibition opening.