David Hockney (b. 1937)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
David Hockney (b. 1937)

Ron Kitaj outside Akademie der Künste Vienna

David Hockney (b. 1937)
Ron Kitaj outside Akademie der Künste Vienna
signed and inscribed 'to Ron with much Love, David H' (lower right); titled and dated 'Ron Kitaj outside Akademie der Künste Vienna Oct 20th 1975' (center of right vertical edge)
india ink on paper
17 x 13 7/8in. (43.1 x 35.4cm.)
Executed in 1975
Acquired directly from the artist.
N. Stangos, Pictures by David Hockney, London 1976 (illustrated, p. 91).
J. Ríos, Impresiones de Kitaj (la novel pintada), Madrid 1989 (illustrated, p. 160).
London, Marlborough Graphics Gallery, A Circle: Portraits and Self-Portraits by Arikha, Auerbach, Kitaj and Freud, April-May 1984, no. 27 (illustrated, unpaged).
Tokyo, Odakyu Gallery, David Hockney, April-May 1989, no. 8. This exhibition later travelled to Gunma, Museum of Modern Art, July-August 1989, Chiba, Seibu Museum, August-September 1989 and Osaka, Umeda Hankyu Gallery, September-October 1989.
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, David Hockney: A Drawing Retrospective 1954-1994, August-October 1995, no. 102 (illustrated, unpaged). This exhibition later travelled to London, Royal Academy of Arts, November 1995-January 1996 and Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, February-April 1996.
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, David Hockney Portraits, February-March 2006, no. 41. This exhibition later travelled to Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, June-September 2006 and London, National Portrait Gallery, September 2006-January 2007.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium

Lot Essay

Executed in 1975, Ron Kitaj outside the Akademie der Künste Vienna is a tribute to the skill, the history and the friendship of two artists: David Hockney and R.B. Kitaj. Hockney has rendered this portrait of his friend with exquisite draughtsmanship, with a flawless, flowing line; he has allowed the brightness of the sheet to fill the work with light while also deliberately playing off the denser texture of the detailing of Kitaj's face with the deliberately sparser, looser definition of the rest of the picture, be it the subject's body, the bench or the background.

In this portrait of his friend, Hockney reveals himself as a virtuoso artist; in some areas the line acquires a slight convulsive jaggedness that perhaps pays tribute to the wealth of associations of the sitter with the scene. For, over two decades earlier, Kitaj himself had been a student at the Akademie der Bildenden Künst in Vienna. There, he had been taught by Albert Paris von Gütersloh, who had, some decades before that, been a friend of Egon Schiele. Kitaj was an artist fascinated by the history of images, the ancestry of ideas, and was therefore hugely aware of this short hop skip and jump into history. Hockney appears to have reflected the multi-layered, reference-laden nature of Kitaj's pictures by here showing an image that reflects not only the character of the subject, not only the scene on that day, but also something of the thick web of memory and association that fuelled Kitaj's own pictures.

Hockney had met Kitaj at another school, the Royal College of Art in London. Kitaj, who was older than many of his contemporaries at the RCA, had been an important influence on many of the younger artists there, not least Hockney himself. The pair remained fast friends until the end of Kitaj's life. During the 1970s, Kitaj was frequently a visitor to Paris where Hockney lived for a couple of years; this was also a period of trips throughout Europe for Hockney, hence the distinctly European feel and theme to this portrait of the wandering expatriate American artist. It is again a tribute to the friendship between these artists that it was given by Hockney to Kitaj with such a personal dedication.

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