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Signed Print Edition of 43
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Celine Fraser, Acquisition Coordinator
Billy Wilder is a signed lithgoraphic print by British artist, David Hockney. Created in 1976 and released in an edition size of 43, this print portrays Austrian-American film director, and Hockney's lifelong friend, Billy Wilder. Depicted in full-length, Wilder is seen sitting on the director’s chair with a script spread out on his thigh.
Before they met at a Hollywood dinner party in the early 1970s and became close friends, Wilder had been a collector of Hockney’s artworks. In this print, the famous director’s pose is relaxed, bringing attention to the casual context, which inspired the portrait. Wilder’s index finger is placed on the script page, which, coupled with the gaze that directly confronts the viewer, endows his demeanour with a dimension of candour. The man looks like he was captured casually during a conversation, which brings the portrait closer to the lifelike dynamics. Two pencils, pens, and filmmaking equipment are seen on the table standing next to the director, making the viewer feel that they are given a glimpse into the intimate, backstage setting. 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. He commented in this context: “When you come to use line, if you know what you’re looking at, it’s much easier to make the line meaningful, to find a linear solution to what you want to depict.”