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Hodgkins, Frances Mary (New Zealand, b.1869, d.1947), Artist
Old Woman, Caudebec
1901
watercolour and gouache on paper
505 x 321 mm paper size
1-2008
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Purchased 2008 with funds from the Dunedin City Council and the I M Richdale Trust through the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Society.
The subject is similar to her 1898 painting The Old Bachelor (page 45) – an elderly person seated, absorbed in stitching, in front of a window with a transparent curtain and flowers on the sill. But the jaunty, humorous tone of the earlier work and its title has gone. Frances Hodgkins’s watercolour technique has become looser and more confident. She can reduce detail to a minimum and still draw the viewer in to enjoy the tranquil domestic mood of the scene.
Caudebec attracted many British artists in the summer since its inhabitants led traditional working lives and wore picturesque clothing, and the cost of models, food and lodging was low. Frances’s tutor at Caudebec, Norman Garstin, was a member of the Newlyn School of artists who lived near Penzance in Cornwall, attracted by the Cornish fishing communities in whose lives they saw a similar simple dignity. There was a Dunedin connection too. The Dunedin Public Art Gallery has a large painting by Stanhope Forbes, one of the founders of the Newlyn School, Preparations for the Market, Quimperlé, Brittany 1883, very different from Frances’s small watercolour but in related mood. Frances’s father William Hodgkins had been instrumental in acquiring the painting for the city when it was shown at the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition in 1889, and Frances knew it well.

not on view

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