Torn up painting - mended by friend - to be sold at auction

Posted on 23/10/2018 in Press Coverage

A painting torn up in disgust by a London artist when he was 17 because he didn’t like it is set to go to auction this weekend.

The untitled composition of two figures by Howard Hodgkin, who died last year at the age of 84, was rescued by his friend at the time and repaired.

The oil painting, together with a book and postcard signed by the artist, will go under the hammer at Hansons London on Saturday, October 27 with an estimate of £1,200 to £1,800.

Chris Kirkham, associate director of Hansons London, said: “Our vendor was a lifelong friend of Howard Hodgkin and was with him when he tore the painting up.

“Apparently he even screwed up some bits. Our vendor carefully gathered up all the pieces and glued it back together again. Incredibly, you can’t even tell now. He did such a good job.

“The world was fascinated recently when elusive artist Banksy arranged for his painting ‘Girl With Balloon’ to be shredded just after the hammer fell at more than £1 million at Sotheby’s in London.

“But clearly, destroying art is nothing new. For Banksy, it was believed to be an anti-establishment act of defiance. Hodgkin simply didn’t like his painting.

“But, just as Banksy’s half-shredded artwork looks set to increase in value, Hodgkin’s repaired original painting is likely to appeal to collectors, with the tale of its destruction when the artist was a teenager adding to the interest.

“Hodgkin went on to gain huge respect as painter and printmaker and his work is often associated with abstraction. He won the Turner Prize in 1985 and was awarded a CBE and knighthood. A major exhibition of his work was held at Tate Britain, London, in 2006 and in the same year The Independent declared him one of the 100 most influential gay people in Britain.

“In the year after his death, it would be wonderful to see him gain even more recognition for his work at auction.”

Hodgkin was born in Hammersmith in 1932 and educated at Eton College and Bryanston School in Dorset. He decided on a career in art in early childhood and ran away from school to pursue this. He studied at Camberwell Art School and the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham.

The untitled painting by Howard Hodgkin together with book ‘Life of William Blake’ by Alexander Gilchrist, signed GHE Hodgkin and inscribed ‘David Hume who is an inspiration as well as a genius, with best wishes’, and a signed postcard by Howard Hodgkin, Lot 77, will be sold on Saturday, October 27 at Hansons London, The Saleroom, Normansfield Theatre, 2A Langdon Park, Teddington, TW11 9PS. Viewing available at The Saleroom on October 26, 2-7.30pm and from 8.30am on the day of the auction until it starts at 11am. Bid live at

Caption: Howard Hodgkin by D Marshall (Wikipedia image) and the oil painting the artist destroyed at the age of 17.