Celia Looks (1980) is one of three lithographs in sepia by David Hockney depicting Celia Birtwell, the artist’s lifelong friend who features in over thirty of his prints. Similarly to Celia Reading, this sparse and minimal print is oriented towards the atmosphere of quietude and self-reflection, capturing the model in a presumably introspective moment.
This work differs from many other prints portraying the famous fashion designer in that it places its focus solely on the woman’s face. Rendered in a strikingly sparse way, Celia Birtwell’s profile occupies almost a whole right side of the print. The woman’s hand emerges indistinctly from the left corner, with two fingers gently touching the chin. Hockney’s line here is vividly fragmented, picking up and fading in an irregular manner. The portrayal of eyes, nose, and lips contrasts with the elements outside the central area of the print as this is where the contour becomes thinner or almost indistinct.
Contrasting sharply with the saturated colours of Celia, Carennac, August (1971) or the stylistic experiments in An Image Of Celia (1984-6), this minimalistic print exemplifies Hockney’s continued need to diversify his work. Attesting to the artist’s avid interest in life and people around him, the print exemplifies how Hockney rediscovered his models in different techniques.