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Postcard Of Richard Wagner With A Glass Of Water

Postcard Of Richard Wagner With A Glass Of Water
Signed Print

David Hockney

Etching, 1973
Signed Print Edition of 100
H 22cm x W 15cm

Critical Review

This signed screen print by British artist David Hockney, Portrait Of Richard Wagner With A Glass Of Water, was issued in an edition of 100 and is from 1973. One of Hockney’s many works to deal explicitly with music – in this case, with the German composer Richard Wagner. One of Hockney’s most-loved composers, Wagner has accompanied Hockney throughout his life; in 1987, the artist designed stages for a production of Wagner’s Tristan Und Isolde, held at the Los Angeles Music Center Opera. Featuring a variety of genre-defying painterly backdrops, these designs evoked the bold theatrically-orientated piece A Souvenir Of A Triple Bill For Andrea Velis (1982) and the experimental Snails Space series. Later in Hockney’s career in the 2000s, Hockney devised a so-called ‘Wagner drive’, crafting a playlist of the composer’s music designed to crescendo as he reached the crest of one of Hollywood’s many hills. A product of Hockney’s collaboration with long-standing friend and master printer, Maurice Payne, this etching distorts the profile of the German composer, which is covered by a glass of water. In the same year, conceptual artist Michael-Craig Martin devised the piece An Oak Tree, which comprises a glass of water placed on a bathroom shelf. The thematic similarities between Hockney’s bold, masterful etching and this installation artwork suggest the nature of the former as a work of playful commentary on the state of contemporary art at the time.