Born on August 6, 1932 in London, United Kingdom, Hodgkin and his family fled the war sometime between 1940 and 1943, and settled in Long Island, NY. Once there, the young artist studied the paintings of Stuart Davis, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, which deeply influenced his work and inspired his lifelong explorations of the medium of painting. He attended the Camberwell School of Art, England, from 1949 to 1950, and Bath Academy of Art, England, from 1950 to 1954.
In 1965, Hodgkin made the first milestone work Indian Subject (Blue) with wooden panel support in the development of his distinctive technique and style. The panel support was significant because later it permitted him to make more gestural applications of the paintbrush. Where a canvas is more responsive to the artist's touch, absorbing some of the paint applied to it, the rigidity of a panel allows the paint to remain pronounced from the support, and for it to retain a clearer impression of the brush that applied it.
In 1984, he represented Great Britain in the Venice Biennale, winning the prestigious Turner Prize in 1985. One of Hodgkin's most distinctive formal effects was the incorporation of a painted frame into the picture-space. In iconic works such as Rain (1984-89), big, expressive, fluid brush-strokes mark out the four sides of the canvas, a gesture exemplifying the self-reflexive spirit of twentieth-century painting. By such means, the painting offers a subtle commentary on its own presentation and placement, becoming a self-contained object in the world rather than - or as well as - a portal into an imaginative space.
The highly gestures paintings created from 2015 to 2016, during the last years of the artist’s career, show the brevity of technique that he had achieved, using an absolute minimum of visual activity while still delivering a complex finish to his work.The artist passed away March 9, 2017 at the age of 84 in London, England. Today, Hodgkin's works are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Tate Gallery in London.