Eliot Hodgkin 1905-1987

Eliot Hodgkin once said he sought to show things 'exactly as they are yet with some of their mystery and poetry, and as though seen for the first time.' How true this is of 'Two Passion Fruit' which is a fine example of the stylised technique Hodgkin is known for. By isolating his subjects, with little or no background, he allowed total concentration on the subject.
Other than painting many scenes of the home front during WWII, Hodgkin remained independent of artistic movements during his career and never changed his style, perfecting the use of egg tempura and intricate still life painting.


On April 24th 1940, Hodgkin tied the knot with Maria Clara (Mimi) Henderson (née Franceschi), his lifeline, his soulmate. In April 1941 they gave birth to their only son, Max. During the last years of his life, Hodgkin suffered immensely from a crippling disease, known as an ataxia of unknown origin. The sublimity in his art influenced many of his contemporaries. He is still prominent for his masterpieces exhibited at the Royal Academy.


By the mid-1930s, Hodgkin had established himself as a painter of still life, landscapes and murals and was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy. His first solo exhibition took place in 1936 at Picture Hire Ltd in London. Shortly thereafter, he began working with egg tempera. During the World War II, Hodgkin worked in the Home Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Information and proposed to paint a plant growing on a bomb site in London. Some originals were seen in March 1945, and as a result, he was offered a 35 guinea commission as part of the War Artists Scheme. Two of his masterpiece pictures were delivered in July, and one was accepted.


In 1959, he is believed to have declined the opportunity to pursue an academic career, but carried on his paintings to exhibit at the Royal Academy throughout his career and burnt the midnight oil to produce a total of 113 paintings at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition from 1934 to 1981. Hodgkin held solo exhibitions at Lester Gallery, New English Art Club, Picture Higher Gallery, Royal Artists Association, Arthur Jeffries Gallery, Agnews, and Wildstein. He is remembered to have contributed as a writer at "Darlachar Brothers" in New York. Hodgkin was also a writer. His books include "She Closed the Door (1931)", "Fashion Drawing (1932)", "55 Views of London (1948)", and "A Pictorial Gospel (1949)."