New San Diego Museum of Art exhibits focus on two distinct British painters
Two exhibits representing two very different art worlds open Jan. 27 at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park: “Howard Hodgkin: Time and Place” and “Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman.” Here’s a synopsis of each “show.”
British-born Howard Hodgkin (1932) is “a brilliant colorist” who plays with the notion of “representational pictures of emotional situations” in his work, according to press materials advancing the show. “Hodgkin defies definitions.”
This exhibition of more than 20 paintings, spans the last 10 years of his career. SDMA is to be the only U.S. venue for this show.
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) is considered among the greatest portrait painters of the Western tradition. This fun exhibit features 11 of his paintings of “notorious society women.” The works are on loan from collections in the United States and Britain. SDMA is the second and final venue for this show.
Among the portraits on view through May 1 will be Mrs. Sarah Siddons (National Gallery, London), the Duchess of Devonshire (National Gallery of Art, Washington), Giovanna Baccelli (Tate, London), Grace Dalrymple (Metropolitan Museum of Art), Viscountess Ligonier (Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens), and Ann Ford, later Mrs. Thicknesse (Cincinnati Art Museum).
The exhibit will also feature a selection of period dresses from the Cincinnati Art Museum, to provide guests with a view of the material accessories of the “modern woman.”
Eighteenth-century viewers appreciated these paintings differently than viewers do today, according to the curators who organized the exhibit. In his own time, Gainsborough’s portraits of actresses, performers and courtesans were seen as unconventional, even radical, not only because of the women they portrayed, but also because of the unconventional way in which they were painted.
In his use of provocative postures and slashing brushwork, Gainsborough’s portraits differed from those of his peers. They were the way he asserted his own place as the premier painter of modern life.
If you go
What: Two exhibits — “Howard Hodgkin: Time and Place” and “Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman.”
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, through May 1
Where: The San Diego Museum of Art, 1450 El Prado in Balboa Park
Contact: (619) 232-7931, TheSanDiegoMuseumofArt.org
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