Drawing the Imagination: In Conversation With An Artist. part 1

 

‘Portrait of Mother III’ 1985

Artist: David Hockney born 1937

Medium: Lithograph on paper

Dimensions: 512 x 435 mm

Collection: Tate Gallery

Presented by artist: 1993

 

David Hockney, a British artist known for his paintings and printmaking, is considered one of the more influential artist of the 20th century and the pop art movement of the 1960s. This earlier works were influences of expressionism, especially of Francis Bacon’s works. The more famous acrylic paintings of swimming pools came later when he moved to Los Angeles in 1964 where this style of work changed along with the new medium. What is interesting is that Hockney continues to explore portraits throughout his career, however, his portrait paintings re very different in style to many of his prints. While his paintings are incorporation of realistic color and pop colors, his prints consist of more expressive mark makings with no blocks of colors but more etching and contour lines.

 

The portrait depicted above is one of the many portraits of Laura Hockney, David Hockney’s mother. The portrait is printed using lithography, a method of printing using ball grained stone or a metal surface with oil and water. Lithography is drawn with oil onto an acid treated limestone plate where etching the surface of the limestone would attract the oil into the scratched surface of the stone which ultimately will absorb the oil based ink when applied for printing.

 

The ‘Portrait of Mother III’ is a limited color palette lithograph print on paper consisting of two colors: blue and red. The portrait has a simple central composition, and like his signature style, the work is dominated by his bold contour mark making with some light shadings. His lines are limited yet his strokes capture the flow and movement of the woman effectively; and like the curator of the Tate Gallery wrote, “the artist portrays her with great psychological insight (Tate. “‘Portrait of Mother III’, David Hockney, 1985.” Tate. Accessed February 20, 2018. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/hockney-portrait-of-mother-iii-p20119.)”.

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