Chair With Book On Red Carpet (1998) is a hard and soft ground etching by David Hockney signed by the artist in pencil. Printed on Somerset Satin White paper, the work manifests Hockney’s interest in the seemingly unremarkable fabric of everyday life, in particular his treatment of mundane objects as an inexhaustible source of artistic inspiration.
The role of the chair, a staple motif in Hockney’s paintings and prints, has been manifold. His 1970s prints, such as Chair, 38 The Colony, Malibu (1973) position the object as a symbol of longing and absence, exposing the subtly dented surfaces of cushions to signal that the seat has only recently been abandoned by someone dear to the artist. A decade later Hockney depicts chairs in The Perspective Lesson (1984) to comment upon the optical illusions, rules of perspective, and visual space.
Standing on a round orange rug, which is the only colourful element in the print, the chair in Hockney’s 1998 print is again linked to the dynamics of absence and presence. The intimacy of the image is established by Hockney’s depiction of a half-open book tossed casually on the seat of the chair. Featuring the elegant, slender chair, stylish rug and the thick book, the print invokes the personality of the owner although their likeness isn’t to be found anywhere within the picture. The set of personal objects bears vivid marks of human presence, leaving the viewer curious about the identity of the absent sitter.