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Swimming
Pools

David Hockney and swimming pools are practically synonymous. The British artist moved to Los Angeles in 1964, seeking to escape the greyness of post-war England in favour of the sharp light and shadows of Hollywood. He found an abundance of sunshine, and enchanting turquoise pools, which have figured as a central motif in his art since.

David Hockney Swimming Pools for sale

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Meaning & Analysis

Reminiscent of Hockney’s celebrated painting A Bigger Splash, the Swimming Pools prints show Hockney exploring this subject across a different medium.

The artist also made a number of prints depicting swimming pools however, with the medium lending itself particularly well to the watery tones, adding a layer of transparency to the works that contrasts with the flatness of some of the paintings.

Along with Hockney’s other iconic subjects – including the double portrait and perhaps the still life of flowers – swimming pools have become forever associated with this British artist who moved to LA in 1964, in search of the sharp light and shadows he had seen in Hollywood movies as a student. Comparing the move to ‘Van Gogh going to Arles’, Hockney sought to escape what he saw as the greyness of post-war England at a time when most artists were finding a new home on the east coast. In these vibrant prints we can also see the influence of modernists such as Henri Matisse who similarly sought out the bright sunshine of the South of France, particularly in intaglio prints such as My Pool And Terrace and lithographs such as Afternoon Swimming. Indeed the contrast with his earlier prints, made mostly during his time at the RCA in London, is stark. In series such as A Rake’s Progress, and works like Myself And My Heroes, Hockney chooses to use the etching technique to produce a mostly monochromatic effect.

10 Facts About David Hockney's Swimming Pools

A Bigger Splash by David Hockney

Image © Tate / A Bigger Splash © David Hockney, 1967

1. This series of prints is reminiscent of A Bigger Splash

A Bigger Splash is one of Hockney’s best known paintings. It hangs in the permanent collection of the Tate Britain in London.

Afternoon Swimming by David Hockney

Afternoon Swimming © David Hockney, 1980

2. The print medium was particularly suited to this subject.

The made a number of prints depicting swimming pools, with the medium lending itself particularly well to the watery tones, adding a layer of transparency to the works that contrasts with the flatness of some of the paintings.

Lithography Water Made Of Lines by David Hockney

Lithography Water Made Of Lines © David Hockney, 1980

3. The swimming pool works were inspired by Hockney’s move to LA

Along with Hockney’s other iconic subjects – including the double portrait and perhaps the still life of flowers – swimming pools have become forever associated with this British artist who moved to LA in 1964, in search of the sharp light and shadows he had seen in Hollywood movies as a student.

Disintegration by David Hockney

Disintegration © David Hockney, 1963

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