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Jungle Boy

Jungle Boy
Signed Print

David Hockney

Intaglio, 1964
Signed Print Edition of 50
H 47cm x W 57cm

Critical Review

This signed print by British artist David Hockney is a stand-out example of the artist’s early approach to printmaking and etching. Like other etchings such as Edward Lear or Gretchen And The Snurl, Jungle Boy is fantastical in nature. The print makes it unclear which of its elements are captured from life, forcing viewers to question whether it is in fact merely a figment of Hockney’s vivid, almost surrealist imagination. Produced in 1964, two years after Hockney’s graduation from London’s Royal College of Art, the print is a direct reflection of the artist’s move from cold, grey and expensive post-war London to the sunnier climes of an eminently relaxed California. Hockney incorporates a splash of vivid coloured ink into his depiction of an exotic palm tree, placed to the right of the composition; in conjunction with the palm tree, a marker of the faraway and the foreign, a large snake evokes a sense of wilderness and the jungle. The nude man with which the snake is engaged in confrontation is also an expression of California; whilst in London Hockney was unable to explore his homosexuality in any overt fashion through his art, relying on coded and euphemistic visual languages in order to do so. Upon moving to California, Hockney was confronted with a thriving and open gay scene which xenabled him to engage with the male nude in an uncompromising fashion.

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