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Australian art

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(Italian street scene with market stalls)



Frank Hodgkinson


28 Apr 1919 - 20 Oct 2001


Frank Hodgkinson is best remembered for his large abstract paintings inspired by the natural, earthy qualities of the Australian bush and his experience of Europe, especially Spain, where he lived for extended periods in the 1950s and 1960s.

Drawing was central to Hodgkinson's work and he remained a dedicated draughtsman throughout his career, his work ranging from intimate sketchbook sketches and studies for paintings to more highly-finished drawings intended for public display.

Hodgkinson embarked for Europe in early 1947, stopping briefly in London before crossing the Channel to Paris. After a few months he travelled on an overnight train to Italy, to spend two months in Florence.

His sketchbook drawings recount his travels to Paris, London, and Florence, each recovering from the devastations wrought by war. His subjects included local street life, architecture and occasionally, art housed in churches and museums. The immediacy and intimacy of the sketchbook drawings are their most appealing qualities and Hodgkinson’s facility with his favoured mediums of pencil, pen, ink and wash, and his obvious pleasure in discovering the great European art centres for the first time. He later recalled: "I was fascinated by the place. I just kept drawing. I spent most of the day looking in the churches [and] museums. But when the museums closed I just drew and drew and drew…".

Frank Hodgkinson returned to Europe several times throughout his life, living in Spain in 1958-61 and 1963-67. In 1995 he travelled again to Italy, drawing in sketchbooks as he had on his first visit in the late 1940s.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2006




Media category


Materials used

pen and black ink on ivory wove paper


28.8 x 38.2 cm sheet

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r., pen and black ink "F H '95".


Gift of Kate Hodgkinson 2006


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Frank Hodgkinson

Works in the collection