This signed lithograph from 1986-97 is a rare, limited edition of 85 from Howard Hodgkin’s Palms series. The horizontal print presents to the viewer a dynamic and energetic semi-representational depiction of a palm tree. The tree, which occupies the majority of the print surface, is marked by abstract and highly expressive red and blue brushstrokes, and is framed by a green circle punctuated by green dots.
Red Palm is the coloured version of Black Palm. Both were made from three aluminium plates, on top of which Hodgkin painted with his dynamic and brash brushstrokes. While the painterly and gestural marks may seem common now, and have become distinctive of Hodgkin’s prints, the situation was rather different when the artist began his career in printmaking. In fact, at the time, painting directly on the printing plates to give a painterly quality to the paper was highly frowned upon, with most print workshops and artists preferring a visual language more similar to advertising, with simple, clearly-identifiable figures. This was not the case for Hodgkin. The artist loved to endow his prints with the same effects as his colourful and abstracted paintings.
While his first prints still retained the clear influence of abstract art, dominated by contained geometrical figures, it is in prints like Red Palm that Hodgkin’s full creative energy can be perceived.