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David Hockney

The Blue Guitar 1977


By far the best known British artist of his generation

PLATES The twenty etchings illustrating the Blue Guitar were drawn directly onto copper plates by David Hockney in London in 1976/77. They were proofed by Maurice Payne, each from two copper plates 345 x 425 mm inked from a selection of five colours. The editions were printed in London and New York at the Petersburg Studios on mould made paper from the Inveresk Mill in Somerset. They were published by Petersburg Press in 1977. EDITIONS

visit www.davidhockneyprints.com

TO ORDER PHONE 01572 821424

Each of the etchings has been stamped on the reverse with the title and signed by the artist, two hundred numbered 1 to 200 and thirty five proofs numbered I to XXXV.


The Blue Guitar David Hockney spent the summer of 1976 on Fire Island, New York, with art curator Henry Geldzahler and poet Christopher Isherwood, reading the poems of Wallace Stevens. He especially loved the long poem entitled The Man with the Blue Guitar, which had been inspired by Picasso's painting The Old Guitarist of 1903. Hockney had admired the works of Picasso for a long time, and he was excited by the way Stevens had woven an allusive and musical text around the theme of the interplay between reality and imagination. Hockney made a series of drawings inspired by the poem and owing a great debt to Picasso that summer, and then back in London he painted some small canvases continuing the theme. Dissatisfied with these, he decided to make a set of coloured etchings instead which would stress the artist's freedom of imaginative response to reality and illusion. He gave them the title The Blue Guitar, etchings by David Hockney who was inspired by Wallace Stevens who was inspired by Pablo Picasso, and they were published both as a portfolio and as a book in spring 1977. In his introductory note, Hockney wrote, ‘The etchings themselves were not conceived as literal illustrations of the poem but as an interpretation of its themes in visual terms. Like the poem, they are about transformations within art as well as the relation between reality and the

imagination, so these are pictures within pictures and different styles of representation juxtaposed and reflected and dissolved within the same frame.’ The disparate images are not easy to read as interpretations of the poet's themes, but what holds them together is the continual reference to the example of Picasso. The etching Figures with Still Life shows a man measured up for perspective watching a cubist woman playing a mandolin. The man was taken from a photograph of Chico Marx and the woman from a Picasso painting of 1909. Both figures are just as real or unreal as each other. In Etching is the Subject, a pen draws Hockney's friend Gregory Evans and leaves blobs of ink behind. The pen and the portrait are illusions but the blobs are real. What is this Picasso? has a realistic curtain drawn back to reveal a stylised head which copies Picasso's 1937 portrait of Dora Maar. And in A Picture of Ourselves, a woman copied from a classical sculpture in a plate from Picasso's Vollard Suite of 1933 contemplates two images of herself, one a surrealist sculpture from another Vollard plate and the other a bestial image in a mirror derived from Picasso's Two Nudes on a Beach of 1937. The Blue Guitar is a fascinating attempt to demonstrate the power of the imagination to question the world of appearances.

The Blue Guitar, softground etching and aquatint, 425 x 345 mm, £000

Peter Webb, author of Portrait of David Hockney (Chatto, 1988)


DAV ID H O CK NEY

The Blue Guitar, softground etching and aquatint, 425 x 345 mm, ÂŁ1950


THE BLUE G U I TA R

The Old Guitarist, etching and aquatint, 425 x 345 mm, ÂŁ5750


DAV ID H O CK NEY

A Tune, etching and aquatint, 345 x 425 mm, ÂŁ2500


THE BLUE GU I TA R

It Picks Its Way, etching, softground etching and aquatint, 345 x 425 mm, ÂŁ1750


DAV ID H O CK NEY

Franco-American Mail, etching, softground etching and aquatint, 345 x 425 mm, ÂŁ2500


THE BLUE G U I TA R

Parade, etching, softground etching and aquatint, 425 x 345 mm, ÂŁ2250


DAV ID H O CK NEY

Discord Merely Magnifies, etching, softground etching and aquatint, 345 x 425 mm, ÂŁ2500


THE BLUE GU I TA R

The Buzzing of the Blue Guitar, etching, and aquatint, 425 x 345 mm, ÂŁ1950


DAV ID H O CK NEY

In a Chiaroscuro, etching, softground etching and aquatint, 345 x 425 mm, ÂŁ2950


THE BLUE G U I TA R

Figures with Stlii Life, etching, softground etching and aquatint, 425 x 345 mm, ÂŁ2750


DAV ID H O CK NEY

Made in April, softground etching and aquatint, 425 x 345 mm, ÂŁ1750


THE BLUE GU I TA R

A Picture of Ourselves, etching and aquatint, 345 x 425 mm, ÂŁ4500


DAV ID H O CK NEY

The Poet, etching and aquatint, 345 x 425 mm, ÂŁ2950


THE BLUE GU I TA R

Etching is the Subject, etching, softground etching and aquatint, 345 x 425 mm, ÂŁ2950


DAV ID H O CK NEY

Tick It, Tock It, Turn It True, etching, softground etching and aquatint, 425 x 345 mm, ÂŁ2250


THE BLUE G U I TA R

I Say They Are, etching and aquatint, 345 x 425 mm, ÂŁ2750


DAV ID H O CK NEY

On It May Stay His Eye, etching, softground etching and aquatint, 425 x 345 mm, ÂŁ2500


THE BLUE G U I TA R

A Moving Still Life, etching, softground etching and aquatint, 345 x 425 mm, ÂŁ2750


DAV ID H O CK NEY

Serenade, etching, softground etching and aquatint, 425 x 345 mm, ÂŁ2950


PLATES The twenty etchings illustrating the Blue Guitar were drawn directly onto copper plates by David Hockney in London in 1976/77. They were proofed by Maurice Payne, each from two copper plates 345 x 425 mm inked from a selection of five colours. The editions were printed in London and New York at the Petersburg Studios on mould made paper from the Inveresk Mill in Somerset. They were published by Petersburg Press in 1977.

The Blue Guitar is a fascinating attempt to demonstrate the power of the imagination to question the world of appearances. Peter Webb

EDITIONS Each of the etchings has been stamped on the reverse with the title and signed by the artist, two hundred numbered 1 to 200 and thirty five proofs numbered I to XXXV.

visit www.davidhockneyprints.com

TO ORDER PHONE 01572 821424


DAV ID H O CK NEY

What Is This Picasso, etching, softground etching and aquatint, 345 x 425 mm, ÂŁ3950

Goldmark Gallery, Uppingham, Rutland, LE15 9SQ, 01572 821424 Open Monday to Saturday 9.30 - 5.30, Sunday 2.30 - 5.30 and Bank Holidays www.goldmarkart.com info@goldmarkart.com


David Hockney - Blue Guitar