A Lasting Impression: The Robert Hodgins Print Archive

Wits Art Museum (WAM) is proud to present an exhibition of prints by well known South African artist Robert Hodgins curated by Julia Charlton, senior Curator of Wits Art Museum.
The artworks are drawn from The Robert Hodgins Print Archive, which was established by the artist at WAM in 2007 and comprises almost 400 works donated from his personal collection. The Archive encompasses a lifetime of achievement with examples of prints that date from the early 1970s through to the late 2000s, including the last prints produced before the death of the artist in 2010. Described by Professor Tawana as “a rich inheritance and a lasting gift”, the Archive is an important research resource and a treasure trove that showcases the vision and wit for which the artist was renowned.
Robert Hodgins has been described variously as a national treasure: a towering talent, an important influence on generations of students and followers of the fine arts, a respected mentor, a massive positive force of energy and an inspiration to many. His relationship with Wits was significant; in addition to his long teaching career at the university he was a generous donor to Wits Art Museum. In 2006 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the university and the Robert Hodgins Prize for third year Fine Art students was established.
Although perhaps better known as a painter, Hodgins was also a prolific printmaker who worked in many different media. The exhibition includes examples of Hodgins’ collaborations with other luminary artists such as William Kentridge and Deborah Bell, including the Hogarth in Johannesburg, Little Morals and Ubu± 101 series of prints. The works range widely in theme and technique, yet all prints display the artist’s characteristic painterly mark making and inimitable aesthetic appreciation of the human subject, flaws and all. Some of the works donated are process prints in various states and offer a hitherto unseen glimpse into the decision making processes that inform the making of the final art object.
A catalogue accompanies the exhibition. A Lasting Impression: The Robert Hodgins Print Archive includes incisive and illuminating essays by leading thinkers in the field, including Colin Richards, Michael Godby, Anthea Buys, Julia Charlton, Sean O’Toole, Tracy Murinik and Kathryn Smith, as well as a complete holdings list of works in the Archive.

Photograph of one of Robert Hodgins prints, ‘Jo’burg Words’, 1987 (1993)