Catherine Hammond & Mary Kisler (eds)
Appropriately for a book on art, this is a beautifully produced volume. Large format, hardback, 288 pages, quality art paper – from beginning to end it is an artistic work celebrating the life of one of our most significant painters.
As the ‘European Journeys’ part of the title says, this tribute work concentrates on the years Frances Hodgkins spent away from this country, but it does give details of her early life so anyone with no previous knowledge of her can learn of her full life.
The 31-year old Frances left New Zealand in 1901, having already established a reputation as an artist here. Apart from visits home, she spent the rest of her life elsewhere supporting herself, often with difficulty, by painting and teaching art.
In her frequent travels between England, France, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands and Spain, and shorter periods in other European spots and Australia, she absorbed and learned different techniques and extended the subjects of her paintings. Places, styles, and the work of other artists were to influence her, resulting in a diverse output.
By her death in England at age 78 her work had been given due recognition in that country particularly, and been shown at an impressive list of galleries. Much as we are proud to claim her, she is more often referred to as a British modernist.
This volume is the work of many experts, all well qualified in the field of fine arts – Catherine Hammond, Sarah Hillary, Alexa Johnston, Mary Kisler, Elena Taylor, Antoni Ribas-Tur, Frances Spalding, Julia Waite. They write of Frances’ life in New Zealand, her early years in Europe, her place within the modern art movement, and of course her works. A list of exhibitions is included, together with text notes, select bibliography and index, so it is a useful reference work for further study.
Most important, the volume contains copious illustrations including portraits and photos of Frances Hodgkins herself, and about 130 of her paintings.
A great resource for artists, art historians, and admirers of her work, and a timely publication, marking 150 years from Frances Hodgkins’ birth, as does an exhibition of her art visiting the four main centres.
Editors: Catherine Hammond & Mary Kisler
Publisher: Auckland University Press