The Fires Of Furious Desire is a signed print by British artist, David Hockney. Produced in 1961, during the artist’s second year at London’s Royal College of Art, it is part of the Early Prints collection. Issued in a limited edition of 75, it is largely reminiscent of Hockney’s so-called ‘Love’ paintings, and is perhaps one of the best examples of the artist’s expressive approach to image making during the very early portion of his career.
This signed print by British artist David Hockney is entitled The Fires Of Furious Desire. One year before its production, Hockney made a series of paintings which he entitled his ‘Love’ paintings, inspired by a voracious appetite for the literary work of American poet and writer Walt Whitman. Enamoured with the approaches of Derek Boshier, R.B. Kitaj, and Patrick Caulfield – all fellow students at London’s Royal College of Art – Hockney used these works as a springboard for his own experimentation with abstract expressionism, a style that was extremely popular in the United States at the time. As such, Hockney described his ‘Love’ paintings as ‘a kind of mixture of Alan Davie cum Jackson Pollock cum Roger Hilton’. In The Fires Of Furious Desire, Hockney’s dabbling in the world of abstraction finds its expression in etching, a technique and medium which he had been exploring since his time at Bradford School of Art: a period captured in the work, Fish And Chip Shop (1954). A rectangular composition very similar to that of ‘Myself And My Heroes’ (1961), the work deals with the eternal themes of love, sex, and passion. In the lower half of the composition, delimited by a single straight line, the impression of two small cross-hatched figures contrast with a bespectacled figure resembling Hockney himself. Deconstructed by several violently applied strokes of the etching needle, the figure’s beating heart is etched on his chest. He emits a plume of dark ink complete with the simple words: ‘LOVE’.