Contemporary Print Market Report
David Hockney: Celia In A Wicker Chair (black state) - Signed Print

Celia In A Wicker Chair (black state)
Signed Print

David Hockney


This estimate blends recent public auction records with our own private sale data and network demand.

Etching, 1974
Signed Print Edition of 20

Critical Review

Unlike the late 1970s lithographs emphasising the meditative atmosphere surrounding the model, this 1974 print captures Celia in a seated, full-length pose, boldly confronting the viewer’s gaze. Covering the chair with short, densely accumulated lines, Hockney endows the only object in the print with a sense of texture while also exposing the vibrant floral print of the model’s dress, the epitome of bold designs associated with Celia Birtwell’s name in the world of fashion.

This portrait, combining the minimalism of the scene with a meticulous approach to detail enabled by etching, is not typical of the way in which Hockney represented Celia Birtwell in his works. Throughout his career, the model has been a subject to Hockney’s experiments with techniques, styles, and traditions including cubism and abstract art.

Here, a uniform, crisp line of etching renders the subject in a highly realistic manner. Through the fine quality of line achieved in the medium, Hockney forges a dialogue with the great practitioners of etching in the history of art, such as Rembrandt. The print exemplifies how Hockney’s favourite models were constantly rediscovered by him in different techniques and mediums.

Speaking of his fascination with Rembrandt’s work, Hockney has said: ‘You need three things for paintings: the hand, the eye and the heart… Two won’t do. A good eye and heart is not enough, neither is a good hand and eye. It applies to every painting and drawing Rembrandt ever made.’ As Hockney drew people who were close to him over a long period of time, his body of work allows the viewer to trace the evolution of his visual language as well as the many dimensions of the sitters’ emotions and feelings.

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