David Hockney's Model With Unfinished Self-Portrait

Year: 1977
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 152 x 152cm
Last Realised: No Recorded Sale History
David Hockney’s Model With Unfinished Self-Portrait. An oil on canvas work of a man lying down in bed on his side with David Hockney in the background painting at a desk.Image © The David Hockney Foundation / Model With Unfinished Self-Portrait © David Hockney 1977
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David Hockney

David Hockney

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David Hockney's 1977 Model With Unfinished Self-Portrait is an evocative work that merges the personal and the observational, exploring themes of identity, creativity, and introspection. This oil on canvas painting juxtaposes a reclining model with an unfinished self-portrait of Hockney, creating a dialogue between the artist and his subject. The composition is characterised by its detailed rendering and the contrasting presence of the unfinished self-portrait, making it a significant piece within Hockney's oeuvre.

Model with Unfinished Self-Portrait: Meaning & Analysis

Model With Unfinished Self-Portrait exemplifies Hockney's innovative approach to portraiture, blending realism with introspection. The foreground features a model in a relaxed, almost vulnerable pose, dressed in a blue robe and resting on a patterned blanket. His serene posture and the softness of his features contrast sharply with the background, where Hockney sits at a desk, working on a portrait.

The unfinished self-portrait introduces a layer of narrative to the painting. Hockney, depicted in the process of creating, provides a glimpse into the artist’s world. The self-portrait, incomplete and sketched with visible underdrawings, can be seen as a metaphor for the constant evolution of self-identity and artistic exploration. This element of the painting underscores the dual roles Hockney occupies as both creator and subject, observer and observed.

Hockney's use of colour enhances the thematic depth of the piece with cooler blue tones surrounding the model contrasting with the warm tones of the background. This contrast draws attention to the separation between the artist's domain and the physical presence of the model. The vibrant colours of the flowers on the table add a touch of liveliness and further emphasise the contrast between the living subject and the conceptual self-portrait.

Hockney's precise brushwork and attention to detail are evident in the intricate rendering of textures, from the model’s socks to the folds in the drapes. The composition's careful balance and use of perspective draw the viewer's eye through the scene, creating a sense of depth and engagement. This approach underscores Hockney's mastery in capturing both the physicality and the emotional undertones of his subjects.

Reflections on Hockney’s Model with Unfinished Self-Portrait

Model With Unfinished Self-Portrait continues to be a focal point for discussions about Hockney's artistic journey and his contributions to contemporary portraiture. Its relevance lies in its ability to portray the complexities of artistic identity, making it a crucial piece for understanding Hockney's broader body of work. The painting’s introspective and innovative qualities ensure its impact, providing an opportunity for inquiry and appreciation.

Model with Unfinished Self-Portrait Exhibition History

New York, David Hockney: Paintings and Drawings, André Emmerich Gallery, September 1978

London, David Hockney: A Retrospective, Tate Gallery, February 1988

Los Angeles, David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, October 2013

San Francisco, David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition, de Young Museum, October 2013

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