Frances Hodgkins

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1869, d.1947

Return of the River

  • Purchased with assistance from the Olive Stirrat Bequest, 1983
  • Gouache on paper
  • 565 x 760mm
  • 83/48
  • 1937

By 1937 Frances Hodgkins had established herself as a major artist in Britain. During this period she began using gouache, which became one of her favoured mediums in the final years of her career.

This work highlights the experimental quality that gouache offered her at this time. Using an almost calligraphic technique, the paint has been applied freely and expressively using a variety of brush marks.

Hodgkins was born in Dunedin and was initially trained by her father, part-time watercolourist William Matthew Hodgkins. In 1893 she took classes with G. P. Nerli, and in 1895/96 studied at the Dunedin School of Art. Hodgkins left to study at the London Polytechnic in 1901 and in 1903 she exhibited at the Royal Academy, becoming the first New Zealander to have the honour of being ‘hung on the line’. Living in Paris between 1908 and 1912, Hodgkins taught at the Académie Colarossi, where she was the first woman on staff. She eventually settled in England, where she exhibited with many art groups and galleries, including the Lefevre Galleries in London from 1932.