The frontispiece of The Blue Guitar series acts as an introduction to the whole set of 20 prints and sets the tone in terms of the colour palette of red and blue which dominates the portfolio. Below the title of ‘The Blue Guitar’, the text, in blue and red capitals, reads, ‘ETCHINGS BY DAVID HOCKNEY WHO WAS INSPIRED BY WALLACE STEVENS WHO WAS INSPIRED BY PABLO PICASSO’. Across the top a classical guitar, softly drawn, lies on its side. The works in the series were intended to accompany, but not illustrate, Stevens’s book length poem of 1937, ‘The Man with the Blue Guitar’ which was itself based on a 1903 painting by Picasso entitled The Old Guitarist. Hockney first came across the poem in 1976 when he visited Fire Island with his friends Henry Geldzahler and writer Christopher Isherwood and he immediately got to work on this series of prints which also became a book. Beginning with ink drawings Hockney translated these into coloured etchings thanks to the technique of sugar lift aquatint which he learned in Paris while under the tutelage of Aldo Crommelynck, who had been Picasso's master printer.