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Signed Print Edition of 50
H 30cm x W 40cm
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|Auction Date||Auction House||Artwork|
Return to Seller
|October 2003||Christie's London - United Kingdom||Death In Harlem - Signed Print|
Following on from Viewing A Prison Scene, Death in Harlem is the sixth plate in David Hockney’s series of etchings entitled A Rake’s Progress. Hockney was inspired by his first visit to New York in the summer of 1961 as well as William Hogarth’s print portfolio of the same name, which dates to 1735. Moving between autobiography and secondary sources such as films and, in this case, the photography of James Van der Zee for Harlem funeral parlours, the series is a portrayal of the more melancholy or unsettling sides of the city. Almost every print contains a self portrait of the artist, usually blank faced and melancholy and often shown in profile, and here we see Hockney’s addition of his own floating head in red at the corner of the image, looking away from the bed on which lies a dead body. The deceased is watched over by an angel, as in the original photograph, and here Hockney has also chosen to pick out a single rose from the flowered wreaths of the source image. In contrast with the photograph, and Hogarth’s scenes, the rest of the composition is strikingly spare. The white background dominates as in many other prints from the series, adding to the feeling of isolation and loneliness that pervades the scenes.