Howard Hodgkin – Blue Listening Ear
Dimensions: 18.63 x 25.25″ paper / 18.63 x 25.25″ plate
Medium: lift-ground etching with aquatint with carborundum from three aluminum plates printed in different tones of red, warm black and cool black, with hand colouring in cobalt blue egg tempera
Edition: AP ed. 100
Inscribed: For Nancy with Love From Howard
Signed: AP HH 86
“I was first drawn to print-making by the desire to make multiples. My paintings are almost always one-offs. As for who’s influenced me, that’s not for artists to say, I think: that’s for other people. But I’ve always admired the print-making of Bonnard, Patrick Caulfield and Richard Hamilton.
In the seventies I’d made prints in Britain with Kelpra Studios, London and at Aymestrey Water Mill, Herefordshire, but then I worked on prints mostly in New York.
I knew Jack Shirreff from teaching at Corsham [Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, Wiltshire], where he taught print making. And in the eighties I still had a house in Wiltshire.
Jack was around the corner. The first print I made with Jack was in 1986, Green Room. I liked the way Jack did the hand colouring. At the time it was anathema to most printers.
There followed Blue and Red Listening Ear in the same year. That’s when Jack introduced me to the delights of carborundum, its ups and downs, in fact. It’s a hard substance that’s ground down and mixed into a paste. When it’s painted on to the printing plate, it makes a hill, which forces a valley into the surface of the paper.”