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Howard Hodgkin, renowned British painter, dies at 84

UPI News Service, 03/10/2017 

Howard Hodgkin, the British painter whose bold, colorful semi-abstract visions earned him the Turner Prize, his country's highest honor for an artist, died Thursday, the Tate Galleries said.

He was 84.

The gallery did not offer the cause of death.

Hodgkin's work presented a puzzle to the art world. Some regarded his work as abstract, a label he eschewed. Others found value in the emotion his carefully constructed and textured color swaths evoked.

Hodgkin came to international prominence with a splash after an exhibit at the Venice Biennale in 1984, earning him wide praise and the attention of art critics from around the world, solidifying his place as a major voice in Europe's post-war art world.

After his Turner Prize came major gallery shows in London and the United States, where his paintings defied easy description by critics.

"I can't control the viewer. But I tell them what the picture's about, always. I've never painted an abstract picture in my life. I can't," Hodgkin said in a 2006 interview with the Tate Galleries publication Tate, Etc.

A child of British aristocracy, Hodgkin took to painting at an early age, The New York Times reported.

In his early years after graduating from two top British art schools, Hodgkin relied mostly on teaching for money.

In a break with more traditional abstract artists, Hodgkin embraced the role a frame plays on a painting, often painting directly on the frame or including rectangular shapes within his paintings to emphasize the concept.

In 1995, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City staged a major exhibit of his work and in 2006 the Tate put together a 50-year retrospective of his career.

Hodgkin is survived by two sons.

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