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Felicite Sleeping, With Parrot

Felicite Sleeping, With Parrot
Signed Print

David Hockney

Intaglio, 1974
Signed Print Edition of 100
H 22cm x W 24cm

Critical Review

Hockney’s subject, Felicite, is executed in black and white, whilst the parrot perched atop her hand is vividly coloured with greens, yellows and reds, a bright contrast to the monochromatic sleeping woman. This etching was inspired by Gustave Flaubert’s A Simple Heart, in which Flaubert writes about the imagined life of a servant girl. In this novella, Madame Aubain inherits a parrot, Loulou, from a friend. But, on finding the bird a nuisance, she gives him to Felicite to care for. It is this narrative that inspired Hockney’s etching. ​​Hockney has the ability to capture the subtleties of his subjects’ expressions. Hockney lends a distinctive energy to each sitter, capturing something innate to their characters, rendered even when his pencil captures them as they sleep.

Hockney claimed he began etching whilst studying at the Royal College: “In actual fact, I started etching there as I hadn’t any money, I hadn’t any paint”. Drawing and printing were to form the basis of his future art. After 1962, Hockney no longer drew self-portraits, but drew those who surrounded him.

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