Frank Hodgkinson (1919-2001) was one of Australia’s foremost abstract painters and artists. He was drawn to the Australian landscape in general and Aboriginal culture in particular in all its manifestations.
With the outbreak of World War II he joined the Army and served in the Middle East, North Africa, New Guinea and Borneo as an official war artist. Following the war he studied and worked in Europe, especially Spain. He won the first Helena Rubinstein Traveling Scholarship in 1958.
Hodgkinson moved back to Australia in 1970 and in 1971 took up residence in the bush north of Melbourne at Dunmoochin on the invitation of Clifton Pugh. Hodgkinson married Kate Ratten in 1976 then moved to Kenthurst, outside Sydney. Hodgkinson became a Member of the Order of Australia in 1999 for services to the visual arts.
His curiosity with Aboriginal art and culture called him to the Top End for long periods of time throughout since the 1980s. Arnhemland especially made a deep impression on him, and he returned several times to this spirited country over a ten year period. Hodgkinson subsequently authored ‘Kakadu and the Arnhem Landers’, one of three diaries (‘Paris Sketchbook’ and ‘Sepik Diary’ being the others) in which he illustrated his hand-written text with detailed sketches and washes.
“Frank Hodgkinson is a prodigy. He is a man so various that he hardly gives you time to focus on any single one talent. He is a painter, a sculptor, an architect, a designer of habitats and ambiences. His creative energy is enormous. His curiosity is at once that of a child and a mature philosopher trying to make sense of the cosmos over which he has ranged with hunger and delight” – Morris West.
Frank Hodgkinson’s work is held in many of the major public and private collections in Australian, London and Europe.