This signed screen print from 2016 is a limited edition of 350 from Howard Hodgkin’s Olympics series. The vertical print offers the public a colourful abstract representation dominated by rich and vivid strokes of yellow, green and blue, which the artist obtained from blending together over twenty different colours.
The Road To Rio, like Welcome, Swimming and Ice, was the last work that Hodgkin produced on the occasion of the Olympics. Produced in 2016, just a year prior to the artist’s death, this works commemorates the participation of Team GB in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, whose green, blue and yellow flag the work recalls. Like his previous works, this print was commissioned by the British Olympics Association, which, since 1912, has been funding the creation of posters for each Olympic Game in which Team GB participated. Hodgkin first created the work as a painting, and subsequently proceeded to reproduce it on paper, brilliantly transposing the energy and dynamism of his painterly brushstrokes through print. In the words of Counter Editions, who published the print: “Bold and euphoric, The Road To Rio captures the energy and spirit of Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Jungle-green, sand-yellow, and the blue of the Brazilian sky and sea are used in an exhilarating display of Hodgkin’s painterly genius. The assertive washes of colour achieve maximum expression with limited means: Hodgkin’s painterly restraint has increased with age. This meticulously crafted screen-print is built up from twenty-two separate layers of colour. The process creates both the thinnest translucent marks and the thickest textural strokes characteristic of Hodgkin’s work.”
The last of a beloved series of prints, the rich colourfulness and the expressionist prowess of Hodgkin’s strokes made The Road to Rio the perfect work to embody the determination and resilience of Team GB throughout the Games.