Hockney exhibition

4 Blue Stools
4 Blue Stools

Blue Mountains City Art Gallery is one of only two venues in Australia presenting this collection of prints from internationally renowned artist David Hockney.

The Old Guitarist

The Old Guitarist

Drawn from the British Council Collection, David Hockney: Word & Pictures focuses on the four major suites of prints produced by Hockney from 1961-1977: A Rake’s Progress, Illustrations for 14 Poems by C.P. Cavafy, Illustrations for Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, and The Blue Guitar.

United by their reference to historical works of literature and art, these prints were all produced during the first two decades of Hockney’s career when he established his international reputation as a Pop artist.

In A Rake’s Progress, Hockney transposed the moral tale of a squandered life based on William Hogarth’s late eighteenth century series of the same name, onto his own semi-autobiographical tales of a summer spent in New York. 

Hockney’s admiration for the poetry of C.P Cavafy, the Greek poet of Alexandria, inspired him to illustrate fourteen of Cavafy’s poems, capturing the sensuality of the original poetry with intimate drawings of his friends in London.

His attraction to the simple direct style of writing in the world famous fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm was to influence one of Hockney’s most ambitious printmaking projects, a series of eighty etchings illustrating six titles, thirty nine of which were published by Petersburg Press in 1970.

The final suite The Blue Guitar, 1977, was based on the poem The Man with the Blue Guitar by the American poet Wallace Stevens, who had in his time been inspired by Picasso. The series of twenty colourful etchings with their vast array of imagery and styles are an homage to the Spanish master.

The exhibition is enhanced by a display of Hockney’s works on loan from the personal collection of the artist’s brother John Hockney, who lives locally.

“When I was informed of the British Council show at Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, I unhesitatingly offered later chronological works from my collection,” Mr Hockney said.

“Hockney has mastered many genres during his lifetime, and the addition of photographic, fax, photocopier, iPad and the recent Sumo Book together with the acclaimed film A Bigger Picture will help offer a broader perspective to the exhibition of Hockney’s early works on paper.”

Appearing at only one other Australian venue, the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre is proud to bring this world class exhibition to the Blue Mountains region, hoping to inspire visitors from metropolitan areas as the Centre celebrates its fifth birthday.  

“The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre has worked in collaboration with Tweed Regional Gallery to bring this major suite of works to Australia,” centre director Paul Brinkman said.

“The David Hockney: Words and Pictures exhibition not only gives our Blue Mountains audiences a rare opportunity to see original works by one of Britain’s most recognised artists, but also shows the quality of exhibition programming to be found in Australian regional galleries.”

This is a touring exhibition by the British Council, presented at Blue Mountains City Art Gallery in partnership with Tweed Regional Gallery. It runs from Oct 14 to December 3.

Public program include: John Hockney Floor Talk on Saturday, October 14, 11am-1pm, free with Gallery admission ticket. 

Come along to hear John Hockney, David Hockney’s brother and Blue Mountains local, share insights on the exhibition as well as personal stories from his recollections of David’s life. The talk will begin with an illustrated presentation in the Seminar Room and then continue in the Gallery. RSVP appreciated at Reception or 4780 5410.

There is also a fifth birthday open day and film screening at the gallery on Saturday, November 18, 10am–4pm, free admission all day.