Gregory Evans David Hockney
Find out more about Hockney’s Gregory Evans series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.
Over the course of his long career Hockney has produced 40 portraits of Gregory Evans, his friend, onetime partner and curator. The two met in Los Angeles in 1971 and developed a strong friendship that was characterised by its easy going nature, a quality that can be perceived in these most relaxed and intimate of portraits. They were lovers for ten years and when Hockney was asked in an interview who the love of his life has been he replied, ‘Maybe Gregory’.
The large number of portraits of Gregory show Hockney’s longtime fascination with depicting his friends in his art. Part of the appeal is undoubtedly the slow process of aging which he has ended up tracking through bodies of work such as these, familiarising himself over the years with his companion’s features and personalities. “When I get to know people,” he said, “I see more in the face.” For an artist obsessed with time and space, perspective and optics, the human face is a constantly changing landscape, a surface with many angles through which to study the effects of light and time.
Today, while the two are no longer romantically involved, Evans continues to manage David Hockney Studio, which oversees the artist‘s work and archives. In 2004 Evans edited the Thames and Hudson coffee table book Hockney’s Pictures which included over 50 years of Hockney’s career organised by the artist himself according to the themes and subjects that have fascinated him since he first started out.
Over the course of more than 50 years Hockney has depicted Evans in sketches, paintings and prints. As part of his extensive experiments with editions, the artist has produced a number of etchings of his muse, including Gregory and Reclining Figure that show his mastery of both hard and soft ground techniques. Gregory also appears in the artist’s lithograph series including the Friends portfolio of 1976 which includes Gregory With Gym Socks, Small Head of Gregory and Gregory Evans.
While Gregory Evans may not be as well known as Peter Schlesinger, who is perhaps best associated with Hockney’s pool paintings, or Celia Birtwell, who has become Hockney’s leading lady in a cast almost entirely made of men, Evans is a constant touchstone in Hockney’s oeuvre, his full lips and cherubic curls making him an ideal subject worthy of the kind of Renaissance painting Hockney loved studying.
For Hockney, portraits are a way of bringing people closer together, from artist and sitter, to sitter and viewer, as well as viewer and artist, because, as he says, “of course art is about sharing: you wouldn't be an artist unless you wanted to share an experience, a thought.”
Why is the Gregory Evans series so important?
Covering a long period of the artist’s career, Hockney's portraits of Gregory Evans chart the evolution of his style and the mastery of his chosen medium. Whether it’s a painting, drawing or print, portraits of Evans convey the essential appeal of Hockney's art, filled as they are with the perceptiveness, care and tenderness of some of his best work.
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