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David Hockney - The Blue Guitar 1


Original softground etching in colours, blue & red, 1976/7, made from 2 copper plates, on Inveresk mould made paper, signed by the artist in pencil, stamped with the title lower centre verso.

Size: Paper 46 x 53 cms/ plate 34.5 x 42.5 cms

Edition: 200 there were also 37 proofs

Published by: Petersburg Press, 1977

Note: This work is plate number 1 from the Blue Guitar Portfolio which consisted of 20 etchings. This frontispiece to the portfolio clearly enunciates Hockney’s dual inspirations for his ‘Blue Guitar’ suite: ‘Etchings by David Hockney who was inspired by Wallace Stevens who was inspired by Pablo Picasso’. Hockney discovered Wallace Stevens’s 1936 poem ‘The Man with the Blue Guitar’ in the Summer of 1976 while holidaying in Fire Island, NY, with the curator Henry Geldzahler and writer Christopher Isherwood. Hockney described how the ‘etchings themselves were not conceived as literal illustrations of the poem but as an interpretation of its themes in visual terms. Like the poem, they are about transformations within art as well as the relation between reality and the imagination, so these are pictures and different styles of representation juxtaposed and reflected and dissolved within the same frame’. Stevens’s poem was inspired by Picasso’s 1903 painting ‘The Old Guitarist’ and Hockney, also a great admirer of Picasso, filled his etchings with a multitude of references to the master both in terms of imagery and style.

Proofed by: Maurice Payne and printed from steel faced plates by Dany Levy in London

Public Collections: Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo

Reference: Tokyo Catalogue Raisonee 178