The Acrobat is a signed etching by British artist, David Hockney. Rendered in the simplistic, cartoon-like style characteristic of Hockney’s other works produced in 1964, such asCleanliness is Next to Godliness orFigure By A Curtain, It depicts a circus performer standing atop a white horse as they ready themselves to jump through a burning circus hoop. With bold, loosely representational forms echoing the work of Picasso, this piece is testament to Hockney’s unparalleled skill at the etching plate. Unworked areas – the performer’s upper body and horse – engender a striking negative space which unlocks the effective potential of the etching’s dark, heavily-inked background. In this work, Hockney does not aim to produce likeness, but rather takes inspiration from the avant-garde. Indeed, during this period Hockney often looked to the Cubist movement, the artistic style of which he makes extended use of in Cubist Boy With A Colourful Tree (1964), or Iowa (1964) – both produced during his travels across North America. Referencing Hockney’s profound love for and interest in the stage, The Acrobat constitutes a significant jump-off point for Hockney’s later work with the Metropolitan Opera House, New York City, an institution with which he worked extensively during the late 1970s and early ‘80s.