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)

A Glass Table with Still Life

DAVID HOCKNEY, O.M., C.H., R.A. (B. 1937)
A Glass Table with Still Life
signed with initials, inscribed and dated ‘a glass table with still life/DH. 1969’ (lower right)
pencil and coloured crayon on paper
14 x 17 in. (35.6 x 43.2 cm.)
Executed in 1969.
Acquired by the present owners by 1971.
Exhibition catalogue, David Hockney: Schilderijen, Tekeningen en Prenten, Nijmegen, Nijmeegs Museum, 1975, n.p., no. 33, illustrated.
Bielefeld, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, David Hockney: Zeichnungen, Grafik, Gemälde, April – May 1971, no. 57.
Lübeck, Overbeck Gesellschaft, David Hockney, June – August 1971, no. 48.
Nijmegen, Nijmeegs Museum, David Hockney: Schilderijen, Tekeningen en Prenten, October – November 1975, no. 33.
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.
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

'Although I am a figurative artist, I am very conscious of all that has happened in art during the last seventy-five years. I don’t ignore it; I feel I’ve tried to assimilate it into my kind of art.' David Hockney, 1976
Held in the same private collection since 1971, A Glass Table with Still Life (1969) is a charming example of David Hockney’s evocative and experimental interior drawings. Executed in fine, delicate lines of graphite and coloured pencil, Hockney presents us with a large glass table with metal legs, three objects scattered haphazardly along its surface. Pared-back and stylised, the present work is characterised by its playful handling of space and surface, foregrounding the artist’s formalist preoccupations of the period. ‘I was becoming more aware of and interested in the possibilities of specific light sources and shadows’, Hockney recalls of the late ’60s. ‘They can put more space in the picture; they can also make it look more ‘academic’ … the pursuit and examination of ideas which were new to me were more important than what this picture looked like’ (D. Hockney, quoted in N. Stangos, David Hockney by David Hockney, London 1976, p. 194). A Glass Table with Still Life is a product of this early experimentation. Hockney skilfully observes the glossy, metallic legs of the table, the diagonal pink shadows suggesting their solid, cylindrical shape; meanwhile, the three sculptural objects along the table’s surface echo its flat blue edge, appearing more like flat paper cut-outs. While recalling decorative household objects, the form on the left bearing the shimmering, jewel-like surface of Murano glass, the three erected objects are intended purely as formal devices, their whimsical appearance a testament to the artist’s early technique.
A Glass Table with Still Life belongs to a series of works which depict the large, square glass table in Hockney’s studio, an object famously depicted in the paintings Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott (1969), Portrait of Sir David Webster (1971) and Still Life on a Glass Table (1971-1972). In 1971, following the break-up from his first love and great muse Peter Schlesinger, the artist eradicated all people from his work, channelling his feelings of grief and loneliness into portraits of inanimate objects. In Still Life on a Glass Table, a painting prefigured by the present work, Hockney substitutes abstract forms for objects which had either belonged to or were particularly loved by Schlesinger, who owned a collection of Lalique glassware. One of Hockney’s most deeply autobiographical works, this painting was described by Henry Geldzahler as having the ‘emotional energy of a portrait’, its lonely, isolated objects taking on a memento mori quality (H. Geldzahler, Making It New: Essays, Interviews and Talks, New York, 1994, p. 144). Like the painting, the present work also showcases Hockney’s technical pursuit of depicting transparency, bearing the earliest traces of what Marco Livingstone described as his ‘perceptual conviction in dealing with the reflection of light through glass, the reflections off it and the modifications of surface through it; yet through all this transparency he manages to endow the subject with a credible sense of weight and mass’ (M. Livingstone, quoted in M. Livingstone, David Hockney, London 1981, p. 132). Stylised against a large expanse of virgin paper, and bathed in a glorious swath of light and shadow, A Glass Table with Still Life is a superb early example of the masterful optical rigour that lies at the heart of David Hockney’s oeuvre.

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