Swooning hasn’t been a fashionable response to art for a century at least, and probably not since the Grand Tour, but if anyone could bring it back again today, it would be painter Howard Hodgkin. People become weak with pleasure before his luxurious oils. High minds unresistingly succumb. Of the two books published to accompany this show, one is an almost defensively passionate catalogue, the other a collection of rapturous encomia by writers such as Bruce Chatwin and Susan Sontag. Here, Hodgkin is favourably compared with Bonnard, Matisse and Vuillard on the one hand, and even more exorbitantly with Degas on the other. Which, if it means anything at all, only goes to show how love can impair one’s judgment.

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