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Design Review: Volume 1, Issue 6 (April-May, 1949)

Frances Hodgkins

Frances Hodgkins

Becomes Acessible to All

The Penguin Modern Painters series has already made accessible to the leanest purse excellent reproductions of adequate size of a number of the best contemporary artists. Beyond being confined, except with Ben Shahn, to English painters, no academic restriction or pandering to the grocer's calendar type of picture has depreciated the value of the books for those interested in genuine modern art.

A Great Painter

The modest sum of four and sixpence now brings us the latest volume on Frances Hodgkins. Can she be claimed as a New Zealand painter? All her efforts were directed to leaving this country and, had her destination been the U.S.A. she would long ago have been claimed as one of America's greatest painters. She was certainly the greatest painter this country has produced, though she did not owe it much more than her birth and the earning capacity to quit.

An Aristocrat of Paint

Dying at almost eighty years of age her art described an upward value curve right to her last picture. Only strength of character saved her from joining the ranks of the leisurely talented whose art, like their meals, is delicious and at intervals. Her singleness of purpose and refusal to digress or worship the god of guineas allowed her to realize her gifts to the full and produce a succession, each new and different, of designs of flowerlike vision in which colour and drawing combine in imaginative ferment.

The choice of pictures in the Penguin is excellent. The quality of colour reproduction permits an enjoyment of her work only inferior to seeing the originals.