Pool drawing (diving board on right)

David Hockney

In 1978 David Hockney lost his driving licence, shortly before travelling to America. Concerned that he might get into trouble for driving across the US without one, he decided to stay in New York for a while to wait for a replacement to arrive. During this forced stay, he went upstate to visit the printer Ken Tyler, with the intention of telling him he wanted to take a break from printmaking to concentrate on painting. Ken however greeted him and showed him a technique involving liquid paper which he had invented for Ellsworth Kelly. The paper pulp would be ladled into metal trays and hand-coloured whilst wet before being pressed flat. Like painting, it was a process that the artist had to perform himself by hand, and was completely unlike any form of edition making that he had tried before. Each variant in each edition would be unique: Hockney was hooked. The famous Paper Pools series was the result.

Hockney studied Tyler's pool at different times of day and night taking Polaroid shots and making drawings in order to muse on the many different light and colour changes that the pool underwent. From these drawings, Hockney created cloisonné-like moulds, pouring liquid coloured pulp directly over flat sheets of wet, newly made paper. The artist then put the finishing touches on the work by directly applying coloured pulp and liquid dyes freehand. As the artist noted in his essay on the series, 'I kept looking at the swimming pool; and it's a wonderful subject, water, the light on the water. ..this pool, every time that you look at the surface, you look through it, you look under it' (D. Hockney, quoted in N. Stangos (ed.), David Hockney: Paper Pools, New York 1980, p. 21).

From the date, the present drawing would almost-certainly appear to be one of the drawings made of Ken Tyler's New York pool, and it is particulary close in composition to a number of the multi-sheet Paper Pool works. Between 1978 and 1980, Hockney made a further celebrated series of swimming pool works, Lithographs of water made from lines, to which the present drawing also relates.

David Hockney (b.1937)
Pool drawing (diving board on right)
Ink on paper
14 x 17 in : 35.6 x 43.2 cm
Signed with the initials and dated lower right
Knoedler Gallery, London; Galerie Meyer-Ellinger, Frankfurt; Private collection, Germany
Nuremberg, Kunsthalle, "Zeichnung heute, Meister der Zeichnung, Beuys, Hockney, Hofkunst, Quintanilla"; 8th June - 14th October 1979, and touring to Hasselt, Begijnhof 15th November - 29th December 1979
Exh. cat. Nuremberg, Kunsthalle, "Zeichnung heute, Meister der Zeichnung, Beuys, Hockney, Hofkunst, Quintanilla"; 8th June - 14th October 1979, p.86 (illus)
Currently on hold


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