DAVID HOCKNEY, O.M., C.H., R.A. (B. 1937)
DAVID HOCKNEY, O.M., C.H., R.A. (B. 1937)
DAVID HOCKNEY, O.M., C.H., R.A. (B. 1937)
DAVID HOCKNEY, O.M., C.H., R.A. (B. 1937)
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DAVID HOCKNEY, O.M., C.H., R.A. (B. 1937)


DAVID HOCKNEY, O.M., C.H., R.A. (B. 1937)
signed with initials and dated ‘DH./70’ (lower right)
pencil and coloured pencil on paper
17 x 14 in. (43.2 x 35.6 cm.)
Executed in 1970.
with Kasmin, London.
Acquired by the present owners by 1971.
Exhibition catalogue, David Hockney: Zeichnungen, Grafik, Gemälde, Bielefeld, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, 1971, pp. 11, 39, no. 62, illustrated,
Exhibition catalogue, David Hockney: Schilderijen, Tekeningen en Prenten, Nijmegen, Nijmeegs Museum, 1975, n.p., no. 40, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Realismus und Realität, Darmstadt, Darmstadt Kunsthalle, 1975, p. 121, no. 89, illustrated.
N. Stangos (ed.), David Hockney by David Hockney, New York, 1976, pp. 291, 347-348.
Exhibition catalogue, David Hockney: Zeichnungen und Druckgraphik, Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, 1977, n.p., no. 25, illustrated.
Exhibition catalogue, Englische Kunst der Gegenwart, Bregenz, Kunsthaus Bregenz, 1977, p. 153, no. 125B, illustrated.
Nuremberg, Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Zeichnung Heute: Meister der Zeichnung - Beuys, Hockney, Hofkunst, Quintanilla, June – October 1979, catalogue not traced: this exhibition travelled to Hasselt, Begijnhof Hasselt, November – December 1979.
Darmstadt, Internationale der Zeichnung, August - November 1970, no. 237.
Bielefeld, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, David Hockney: Zeichnungen, Grafik, Gemälde, April – May 1971, no. 62.
Lübeck, Overbeck Gesellschaft, David Hockney, June – August 1971, no. 50.
Nijmegen, Nijmeegs Museum, David Hockney: Schilderijen, Tekeningen en Prenten, October – November 1975, no. 40.
Darmstadt, Darmstadt Kunsthalle, Realismus und Realität, May – July 1975, no. 89.
Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, David Hockney: Zeichnungen und Druckgraphik, February – April 1977, no. 25.
Bregenz, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Englische Kunst der Gegenwart, July – October 1977, no. 125B.
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. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Angus Granlund
Angus Granlund Director, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

'It is a very beautiful picture. I am proud to be that.' Celia Birtwell, discussing the present lot
Held in the same private collection since 1971, Celia (1970) is an intimate and tender portrait of one of David Hockney’s closest friends, the fabric designer Celia Birtwell. Here, Hockney presents us with Celia sporting one of her own designs, a pink palm tree print blouse with a pussycat bow, paired with a checked jersey skirt. Depicted in what she recalls as the artist’s flat in Powys Terrace, Notting Hill, she presses back against his Mies van der Rohe ‘MR’ chair, gripping firmly onto the edges of its seat. Silent and pensive, she flashes us a quiet stare from her piercing blue eyes. Through fine, fragile lines and a pastel colour palette, Hockney skilfully captures his sitter’s elegant and graceful demeanour, a quality which manifests in the gently rendered strands of her wispy blonde hair. ‘After all, she’s a very feminine woman, not a masculine woman, and a very sweet-natured, gentle person’, Hockney notes of his sitter (D. Hockney, quoted in M. Livingstone, ‘Hockney's People: Notes to the Plates’, in David Hockney: Faces 1966-1984, exh cat. Laband Art Gallery, Los Angeles 1987, unpaged). Created in single sessions lasting three to four hours, Hockney’s portraits of the early 1970s were characterised by their commitment to conveying the unique particularities of his subjects. In Celia, we are immediately drawn to the sitter’s glorious pink outfit, the patterns and folds of its fabric rendered in meticulous detail. Indeed, the work can be considered a testament to Celia’s celebrated career in textile design, highlighting her status at the top of London’s fashion industry in the Swinging Sixties. One of the earliest depictions of his muse, Celia offers a subtle and insightful representation of the sitter who would go on to fascinate Hockney for the next five decades.
Executed in 1970, Celia belongs to a small group of portraits in which Hockney depicts his subject sat on his Mies van der Rohe ‘MR’ chair, a composition most famously presented in Portrait of Sir David Webster (1971). Like Sir David, Celia appears to float upon the partially-invisible chair, a feature which lends the work a surreal quality, recalling the weightless illusionism explored in Hockney’s swimming pool paintings. Interestingly, Hockney depicts a similar Marcel Breuer design in the celebrated double portrait Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy (1970-1971, Tate, London), a painting in which Celia appears alongside her husband Raymond ‘Ossie’ Clark. Whether occupied or empty, chairs have formed a recurring component of Hockney’s portraits, their sitter’s naturally assumed pose—whether slouching or, in the case of Celia, adopting a more upright position—revealing something of their temperament. ‘When you walk into a room you don’t notice everything at once and, depending on your taste, there is a descending order in which you observe things’, Hockney notes. ‘Consequently, I deliberately ignored the walls and I didn’t paint the floor or anything I considered wasn’t important’ (D. Hockney, quoted in D. Hockney and E. Pillsbury, David Hockney: Travels with Pen, Pencil and Ink, London 1978, n.p.). Draped stylishly against a large swath of virgin paper, the present picture presents us only with Celia and the chair she sits on, its pared-back, sophisticated composition a testament to her subtle charm.
Meeting for the first time in Los Angeles in 1964 through Peter Schlesinger, Hockney quickly established a close friendship with Celia, his portraits of her adopting an increasing intimacy the more time they spent together. Just as Hockney’s love for Peter encouraged him to develop his techniques in pen and ink, his affection for Celia spurred him to render his coloured crayon portraits on a larger scale, with a newfound level of sophistication. Playing on her charms with an almost childlike enthusiasm, Hockney’s depictions of Celia from the early ’70s offer a significant example of the academic refinement and personal intimacy that would come to define his portrait practice as a whole. In Celia, Hockney poignantly captures the disposition of his muse, presenting us with the elegant, kind-hearted and positively girlish figure that he was so familiar with. ‘Celia is one of the few girls I knew really well’, Hockney says. ‘I’ve drawn her so many times and knowing her makes it always slightly different. I don’t bother about getting the likeness in her face because I know it so well. She has many faces and I think if you looked through all the drawings I’ve done of her, you’d see that they don’t look alike’ (D. Hockney, quoted in ibid., n.p.).

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