This estimate blends recent public auction records with our own private sale data and network demand.
Signed Print Edition of 17
Own this artwork?
Celine Fraser, Acquisition Coordinator
Bill And James II (1980) is a signed lithograph print in sepia by David Hockney. The work depicts a scene of conversation between two male figures. In order to foreground the intimacy and emotional dynamics of the interaction, Hockney chose not to represent any surrounding interior in the print. By leaving the background plain, the artist directs the viewer’s attention towards the details of the physical likeness: the contemplative gaze and nostalgic facial expressions of the two figures.
As an artist reluctant towards commissioned portraits throughout his career, Hockney sought to capture something intimate about the personality of his sitters and chose to depict people who were close to him. Given its pared-down visual language and focus on the intimacy of the dialogue, Bill And James II can be seen to represent, what Hockney called in reference to Picasso’s portraits of Marie-Thérèse, a work of art about ‘the kind of intimate seeing.’
A fine detail of the wistful facial expressions reflects Hockney’s mastery of the printmaking technique, a medium that fascinated the artist from his early student days at the Royal College of Art. While faces of the two figures display precision and detail, the thin contours outlining the bodily postures are fragmented. The clarity of the image seems to fade deliberately in the bottom part of the print, urging the viewer to focus on what fascinated Hockney most: the depth and mystery of the human face.