Celia Seated In An Office Chair (black state) is a signed intaglio print by David Hockney depicting the famous British textile and fashion designer Celia Birtwell. In a stark contrast to his more experimental prints including An Image of Celia, State II (1986), the work depicts Hockney’s lifelong friend in a static position, sitting upright in a swivel office chair and gazing melancholically at an indefinite point in front of her. Like in his later prints including Celia Reading (1979), Celia – Adjusting Her Eyelash (1979), and Bill And James II (1980), Hockney leaves the background plain to better expose the peaceful, contemplative atmosphere constituted by the sitter’s presence.
What contrasts with the quiet background is the wealth of meticulous detail underlying Hockney’s rendition of the woman’s outfit. The print sees Celia Birtwell wearing a long black skirt, loose shirt covered with an irregular floral print as well as a large bead necklace. Strands of curly hair fall over the woman’s forehead and partially cover each side of her face.
Reflecting Hockney’s attentiveness to the distinctive visual features of his sitters, the print celebrates the unique sense of style and effortlessness of the famous fashion designer’s look. Hockney’s scrupulous rendition of the bohemian outfit captures the spirit of the Swinging Sixties, in which Celia Birtwell’s creative identity as a fashion designer has its roots.