The inaugural Swarovski Art Icon award was given to British artist Howard Hodgkin on Wednesday 2 April 2014 by Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed, followed by an acoustic rendition of his song, ‘Feeling Blue’.
Guests bought tickets for the evening to help raise funds for the Whitechapel Gallery’s education and community programmes. An auction featured works by young emerging artists inspired by Howard Hodgkin was introduced by artist Antony Gormley and was auctioned by Tom Best of Christie’s. Artists included: Caroline Achaintre, Charlie Billingham, Luke Dowd, Adam Faramawy, Andy Harper, Zara Matthews, Christian Newby, Robert Orchardson, Bruno Pacheco, Hannah Perry, Henrijs Preiss and Lara Viana.
Born in London in 1932, Howard Hodgkin has been exhibiting internationally since the 1960s. He had his first major solo survey at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1985 and was awarded the Turner Prize in the same year. He has had numerous major retrospectives including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 1995 and Tate Britain, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and the Reina Sofia, Madrid in 2006 and Modern Art Oxford in 2010, and was knighted for services to the arts in 1992.
Swarovski delivers a diverse portfolio of unmatched quality, craftsmanship, and creativity. Founded in 1895 in Austria, the company designs, manufactures and markets high-quality crystals, genuine gemstones and created stones as well as finished products such as jewelry, accessories and lighting. Having celebrated its 120th anniversary last year, and now run by the fifth generation of family members, Swarovski Crystal Business has a global reach with approximately 2,680 stores in around 170 countries, more than 26,000 employees, and revenue of about 2.6 billion euros in 2015. Together with its sister companies Swarovski Optik (optical devices) and Tyrolit (abrasives), Swarovski Crystal Business forms the Swarovski Group. In 2015, the Group generated revenue of about 3.37 billion euros and employed more than 30,000 people. A responsible relationship with people and the planet is an integral part of Swarovski’s heritage. The global Swarovski Waterschool education program has reached 257,000 children on the world’s greatest rivers, and the Swarovski Foundation, set up in 2013, works to support culture and creativity, promote wellbeing, and conserve natural resources to achieve positive social impact.