Hodgins, Robert

ROBERT HODGINS [ 1920 – 2010 ]

Robert Griffiths Hodgins was born on 27 June 1920 in Dulwich, London. In 1938, he immigrated to South Africa, and joined the Union Defense Force in 1940. In the Second World War, he served in Kenya until 1941, then in Egypt until 1944. During the same year he returned to England and was discharged after the end of the war in 1945. From 1947-1950, Hodgins studied part-time and from 1950-53, he studied full-time at the Goldsmith’s College of` Art, University of London. He first studied teaching, and then art. In 1951, he obtained an Arts and Crafts Certificate, and in 1953 a National Diploma of Design, the equivalent a major in painting. He returned to South Africa in 1954. Between 1954-62 he taught painting and drawing at the Pretoria Technical College, and from 1962-66 he worked as a journalist, art critic and then Assistant Editor of Newsweek. As senior lecturer he taught at the Department of Fine Art of the University of the Witwatersrand from 1966-1983. Thereafter he painted full-time.

Despite having exhibited since the early 1950’s, it was only as late as 1981 when he was properly recognised. In the 1980’s, many artists began to develop unique styles, and made anti-apartheid or socially conscious statements. Robert Hodgins was not the exception, and began satirizing figures of power. The impact of these works was such that the Standard Bank National Arts Festival hosted a major retrospective exhibition in 1986. Robert Hodgins can be described as an expressionistic painter and graphic artist of historical events, images, figures and impressions. His icons of malevolent businessmen in pinstriped suits, prison cells, historical references and political tyrants still reappear in his later works. He works in oil, acrylic, tempera and in various graphic media. Although the human form is the subject matter of many of his paintings, it is colour, space and placing that plays a very important role.

“There are paintings that stem from memory and from a sombre look at the human condition. Paintings about the construction and confusion of contemporary urban life, but also paintings about the pleasures of being alive, pleasures that crowd in upon the pessimism everywhere – that crowd in and refuse to be ignored”. (Goodman Gallery 2000)

Born: Dulwich, London, United Kingdom, 1920.
died: Johannesburg, South Africa, 2010.

Training: 1950-1953: Goldsmith’s College of Art, University of London, National Diploma in Design,(Painting), London, England

Selected Exhibitions: 2009: Robert Hodgins Goodman Gallery Cape, Cape Town, South Africa, 2004: Hodgins at Goodman, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2003: Robert Hodgins Simon Mee Fine Art, London, UK, 2002: 50 Years a Painter, Retrospective exhibition, Gertrude Posel Gallery, University of Witswatersrand, Johannesburg South Africa, 2002 50 Years a Painter, Retrospective exhibition, Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 2002: Robert Hodgins Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2001-2: 50 years a Painter, Retrospective exhibition, SASOL Art Museum, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2001: Robert Hodgins João Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa, 2001 50 years a Painter, Retrospective exhibition, University of Potchefstroom, Potchefstroom, South Africa, 2000: Robert Hodgins Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1998: Robert Hodgins Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1995: Robert Hodgins Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1992: Robert Hodgins Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1990: Robert Hodgins Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa 1987: Robert Hodgins Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1986: Retrospective, Standard Bank National Festival of the Arts, Grahamstown, South Africa, 1960: Robert Hodgins Lidchi Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1959: Robert Hodgins South African Association of the Arts, Pretoria, South Africa, 1958: Robert Hodgins Lidchi Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1956: Robert Hodgins Lidchi Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Group Exhibitions: 2014: From Sitting to Selfie, Standard Bank Gallery, South Africa, 2003: Absolutely/Perhaps, group exhibition with William Kentridge, Johannes Phokela, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Sam Nhlengethwa, Simon Mee Fine Art, London, UK, 1999 <>FAST FORWARD, Van Reekum Museum of Modern Art, Appeldoorn, Netherlands, 1997 Michel Luneau Gallery, Nantes, France, 1997 Ubu 101, Gertrude Posel Gallery, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg South Africa, 1997 Collaborations, with William Kentridge and Deborah Bell, Johannesburg Art Gallery,Johannesburg, South Africa, 1997 Cram, SA Association of the Arts, Cape Town, South Africa, 1995 Mayibue iAfrica, Africa ’95 Festival, Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, UK, 1995 Seven Stories of Africa, Africa ’95 Festival, curated by David Koloane, coordinated by Felicity Lunn and Catherine Lampert, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK, 1995 Panoramas of Passage, curated by Clive van den Berg, in association with University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries Recipient, Helgaard Steyn, Award for painting, Meridian International Centre, Washington DC, USA, 1994 Displacements, curated by David Bunn and Jane Taylor, an exhibition of works on paper, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA, 1993 Portraits in the Round, a ceramic exhibition in collaboration with Deborah Bell and Retief van Wyk, 1992-3 Easing the Passing (of the Hours), computer animation and graphics in collaboration with William Kentridge and Deborah Bell, 1992 IGI Life Vita Now Awards, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1992 Le Bal des Tables Artistiques, Mayoral Ball, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1991 Little Morals Series, with Deborah Bell and William Kentridge, Cassirer Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1990 Life Vita Now Awards, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1989 Hogarth in Johannesburg, book launch, Gertrude Posel Gallery,University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1987 AA Life Vita Art Now Awards Exhibition, Johannesburg, South Africa, Hogarth in Johannesburg, Cassirer Gallery, Johannesburg and national tour, South Africa, 1986 AA Mutual Life Vita Arts Now Awards Exhibition, 3rd quarter Award Winner, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1985 Cape Town Triennial, SA National Gallery, Cape Town and major museums, South Africa, 1984 Four Johannesburg Artists, with Ricky Burnett, Jo Smail and Ilona Anderson, South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg; Museums Nationwide, South Africa, 1983 Exhibited with Deborah Bell, Ann Sassoon and Frank van Schaik, Carriage House Gallery, Midland, Canada, 1980 Wits University Lecturers, Gertrude Posel Gallery, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1980 Pretty Boy Floyd, series of graphics, Market Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1978 Paintings with sculptures Two man show with Jan Neethling, Market Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1975 Goodman Gallery with Jan Neethling, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1971 Two man show of Cliches Verres, with Jan Neethling, Lidchi Gallery, Johannesburg; SA Association of the Arts, Cape Town, South Africa, 1970 Two man show with Jan Neethling, Lidchi Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1961 Two man show with Jan Neethling, Lidchi Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1954 Transvaal Art of Today (Best Young Artist Award), Pretoria Centenary Exhibition, Pretoria, South Africa

Awards: 1995 Helgaard Steyn Award for painting, South Africa, 1992 1st quarter Award winner, IGI Life Vita Now Awards, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1990 3rd quarter winner, Life Vita Now Awards, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1987 Winner of AA Life Vita Art Now Awards Exhibition, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1986 Vita Quarterly Award Winner, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1955 Transvaal Art of Today Best Young Artist Award, Pretoria, South Africa

Collections: VODACOM, Cape Town, South Africa, Anglo American, Johannesburg, South Africa, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, Sandton Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa, Sanlam Art Collection, Johannesburg, South Africa, Sandton Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa, University of South Africa (UNISA), Pretoria, South Africa, University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries, Johannesburg, South Africa, William Humphries Art Gallery, Kimberley, South Africa

References:
2012 Anthea Buys (ed). A Lasting Impression: The Robert Hodgins Print Archive, Wits Art Museum, South Africa.

2008 Retief van Wyk (ed). The Ceramic Art of Robert Hodgins, Bell-Roberts Publishing, Cape Town. South Africa

2002 Robert Hodgins, The Human Race, Goodman Gallery Editions, South Africa.

2002 Atkinson, Brenda, Robert Hodgins (1930-1988), Johannesburg Art Gallery: Johannesburg, 107.