In the late 1930s and 1940s Frances Hodgkins began to use gouache paints. These are watercolours to which a gum or white pigment has been added to make them opaque and thicker than conventional watercolours, and they allowed her to paint in strong blocks of colour, as in this work, which brought her close to pure abstraction. This painting was completed in 1939 and was one of the paintings intended to be shown at the 22nd Venice Biennale, for which Hodgkins was chosen as Britain's representative. In the event the outbreak of war prevented this, but the works were shown in London to considerable praise.
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Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Gouache by Frances Hodgkins, 1939
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