Howard Hodgkin was educated at Bryanston School in Dorset. He then studied at the Camberwell School of Art and later at the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham. His first solo show was in London in 1962. His early works tended to be made up of hard-edged curved forms in a limited number of colours. Around the beginning of the 1970s, his style became more spontaneous, with vaguely recognisable shapes presented in bright colours and bold forms.
Hodgkin's paintings and prints often seek to convey memories of encounters with friends and frequently carry titles alluding to specific places and events such as Dinner at West Hill (1966) and Goodbye to the Bay of Naples (1980-82). Hodgkin himself has said that he makes "representational pictures of emotional situations".
His prints include screenprints and hand-coloured etchings and he has worked with the same master printer (Jack Shirreff at 107 Workshop) and print publisher (Alan Cristea Gallery, now Cristea Roberts Gallery) for the last 25 years.
In 1984, Hodgkin represented Britain at the Venice Biennale. In 1985 he won the Turner Prize, and in 1992 he was knighted. In 2003 he was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II as a Companion of Honour. A major exhibition of his work was held at Tate Britain, London, in 2006.