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Signed Print Edition of 60
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Celine Fraser, Acquisition Coordinator
Chair, 38 The Colony, Malibu (1973) is a signed lithograph print that represents an important thread within David Hockney’s prolific and diverse body of work: the investigation of everyday objects and their potential to speak about personal emotions. Employing a thin, delicate line against a completely plain background, the print depicts a large armchair with a soft cushion seat. The realism of the image is achieved thanks to Hockney’s mastery of the printmaking technique. The artist uses lithograph’s subtle brush strokes of ink to render signs of someone’s usage, and makes them look naturally recent. The slightly dented surface of cushions as well as the areas where the armchair has been soiled endow the object with a sense of identity, implying a personal context of a long-term ownership.
While Hockney’s name is strongly attached to a buoyant imagery and bold colour palette that permeate his famous portraits, depictions of Southern California, and vibrant interior spaces, such as the studio on Montcalm Avenue, the still life conveys a deeply vulnerable side of his artistic practice. The minimalism of the scene and precise line drawings contrast with the exuberant style of the later works, such Walking Past Two Chairs (1984-6), Celia With Chair (1986), or Montcalm Interior With 2 Dogs (1988).
The year of 1971 marks the ending of Hockney’s relationship with the American artist and author, Peter Schlesinger. As a result, many of his works from 1971 to 1973 make subtle references to the painful experience of absence. Considering the personal context, the dented cushions seem to be the essential element in the construction of the image. They suggest it is not long since the chair has been vacated and thus turn the object into a universal symbol of longing and loneliness.