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Pacific Mutual Life

Pacific Mutual Life
Signed Print

David Hockney

Lithograph, 1964
Signed Print Edition of 20
H 51cm x W 64cm

Critical Review

One of the first prints produced by Hockney following his landmark move from cold and grey post-war London to sunny Santa Monica, California, Pacific Mutual Life was issued in a very limited edition of 20 in 1964. Part of the artist’s Early Prints series, it marks Hockney’s return to lithography – a print medium the artist had not used for around 10 years that revolves around the scientific principle that water and grease do not mix. In this print, the productive collision between Hockney, his artworks and American culture is visible for all to see. At the top and bottom of the composition respectively, the words ‘PACIFIC MUTUAL LIFE’ and ‘PERSHING SQUARE’ are inscribed into an abstracted and almost surrealist scene which deftly combines organic form and a rigid, isometric framing device, recalling the artist’s later work for the stage. Referencing both a life insurance company and a public square in downtown Los Angeles, these phrases echo the repellent and dichotomous chemical principles inherent to the lithographic print making technique; Hockney’s love for fantastical narrative (visible throughout the Early Prints collection) and the natural world tussle with the graphic signage of American consumerism, creating a multi-faceted and intricate picture in the process.

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