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Christchurch celebrates artist and explorer Frances Hodgkins

Christchurch celebrates artist and explorer Frances Hodgkins

The work of an unstoppable traveller is taking Christchurch by storm in an exhibition following the adventurous life of Dunedin-born artist Frances Hodgkins.

Hodgkins is renowned as one of New Zealand’s most influential female artists and a trail-blazing modernist painter. 125 artworks inspired by her travels through Morocco, France, Spain and Britain will be on display at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū from 15 February.

“Travel was a huge influence in Hodgkins’ development as a modernist painter and a vital source of inspiration in her works,” says Director Blair Jackson.

Born in Dunedin, Frances Hodgkins (1869 – 1947) left for Europe in 1901 and by the late 1920s had become an important figure within the British Modernist art scene.

Her professional life spanned almost six decades, including two World Wars and periods of massive social and cultural change.

Her vibrant artworks capture the spirit of the changing era within which she lived, and the extensive journeys she took across Europe that provided inspiration for her works.

The exhibition includes early watercolour travel sketches of the French Riviera, Morocco and Venice; her first encounters with modernism in Paris; and works in oil and gouache from her later life in Britain.

Auckland Art Gallery Head of Curatorial and Exhibitions Sarah Farrar says the show is a celebration of Hodgkins’ work as well as the creative vision, single-mindedness and determination behind her success.

“Hodgkins is an inspiring figure who rejected expectations of women at the time with a purpose and style that resonates today,” Farrar says.

Developed and toured by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki as part of the Frances Hodgkins project, Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys will be on display at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū from 15 February – 1 June 2020.


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