Steel Stool With Newspaper by David Hockney

Recent Etchings David Hockney

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Comprising 14 works the Recent Etchings series sees Hockney revisiting familiar subjects, such as chairs, flowers and Celia Birtwell, in a medium he favoured for its ability to create quick compositions full of shadows and light.

In Van Gogh Chair, in white and black variations, Hockney returns to the simple wicker chair he has depicted many times before, including as part of the Moving Focus series. The works are an homage to Van Gogh, a painter he greatly admired – he has even compared his move to LA in the 60s as being similar to ‘Van Gogh going to Arles’ in terms of the effect it had on his painting. Here we see Hockney take Van Gogh’s famous chair, which is shown unoccupied and side on, and turn it so that it faces the viewer squarely, forcing a distortion of perspective which Hockney has resolved by making the front of the seat narrower than the back, resulting in an oddly squashed square that resembles a pyramid with its top chopped off. An even more overt reference to Van Gogh can be found in the pipe that lays on the wicker seat, which makes us feel the absence of the sitter even more. The pipe appears to have been left there without thought, almost carelessly, as if the subject of this missing portrait had left the scene only momentarily.

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