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Green Pool with Diving Board and Shadow (Paper Pool 3)

Green Pool with Diving Board and Shadow (Paper Pool 3)
signed with the artist's initials and dated 'D.H. 78' (lower right); signed and numbered '3 K David Hockney' (on the reverse)
coloured, pressed paper pulp
50 3/4 x 32 5/8in. (128.8 x 82.8cm.)
Executed in 1978
Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago.
Keitelman Gallery, Brussels.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2002.
N. Stangos (ed.), David Hockney paper pools, New York 1980 (another example illustrated in colour, pp. 30-31).
K. E. Tyler, Tyler Graphics: Catalogue Raisonne, 1974-1985, New York 1987, no. 238:DH3 (another example illustrated, p. 163).
D. Hockney, David Hockney: Redefining the Terms of Art and Life, Tokyo 1989 (another example illustrated).
Manchester, Art and Furniture, Pictures by David Hockney, 1980-1981, no. H (another example exhibited).
Tokyo, Odaleyu Grand Gallery, David Hockney, 1989, no. 15 (another example exhibited, illustrated in colour, p. 41). This exhibition later travelled to Gunma, The Museum of Modern Art; Chiba, The Seibu Museum and Osaka, Umeda Hankyu Gallery.
Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, David Hockney: prints, 2017-2019, pp. 129 and 209 (another example exhibited, illustrated in colour, p. 128). This exhibition later travelled to Cairns, Cairns Art Gallery; Alice Springs, Araluen Centre for Arts and Entertainment; Gymea, Hazelhurst Arts Centre and Victoria, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery.
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, David Hockney: People, Places & Things, 2022 (another example exhibited).
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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Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Interim Head of Department

Lot Essay

With its turquoise waters bathed in the sparkling light of a summer’s day, Green Pool with Diving Board and Shadow (Paper Pool 3) is an exquisite work from David Hockney’s celebrated series of Paper Pools. Dating from a pivotal moment in his career, this extraordinary series united the artist’s most iconic subject with a radical new technique. Hockney had first fallen in love with sun-kissed swimming pools while living in Los Angeles during the 1960s. In 1978, he moved back to California once more, stopping off en route from England to stay with the graphic designer Kenneth Tyler in upstate New York. Inspired by Tyler’s magnificent swimming pool, Hockney began a new series of works using handmade pulped paper. Tactile and absorbent, this new medium brought the artist closer than ever before to capturing the shifting, elusive properties of water. In the present work, piercing aquamarine hues glisten with dappled, liquid light: the flat waters of his 1967 masterpiece A Bigger Splash (Tate, London) are finally brought to life.

Widely exhibited, and with variations held in institutions including the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and the National Gallery of Australia, Green Pool with Diving Board and Shadow is the third image in the series of twenty-nine that make up the Paper Pools. Together, these works represent a unique and distinctive chapter in Hockney’s life. Tyler was the founder of the celebrated Tyler Graphics studio, and had first met the artist while running Gemini Ltd in California. At the time of Hockney’s visit in 1978 he had recently opened a new workshop outside New York City. Tyler had previously introduced artists such as Ellsworth Kelly and Kenneth Noland to the paper pulping technique, and encouraged Hockney to experiment with it. The artist was instantly intrigued by the process, and even more so by its results. ‘The paper is very beautiful, the surface, there is no such thing as a flat colour, and they are very subtle at times’, he wrote. ‘They are like paintings, which is why I stayed’ (D. Hockney, quoted in N. Stangos (ed.), David Hockney: Paper Pools, New York 1980, p. 100).

Moving from grey post-war England to sunny California as a young man, Hockney had been struck by the dazzling beauty of sunlight upon clear blue waters. It was a subject that would consume him during his early career, giving rise to masterworks such as Peter Getting Out of Nick’s Pool (1966) and Sunbather (1966), as well as Pool and Steps, Le Nid du Duc (1971) and Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) (1972), set in the South of France. Depicting water, for Hockney, was more than a technical challenge: it was a pursuit that went straight to the heart of his views about art. Human vision, he later came to realise, was a series of shifting snapshots that—like ripples in a pool—were constantly in motion. In the Paper Pools, wrote Nikos Stangos, Hockney explores ‘the paradox of freezing in a still image what is never still, water, the swimming pool, this man-made container of nature, set in nature which it reflects, the play of light in water’. Stangos suggests that he must have had in mind Henri Matisse’s La Piscine (1952), a work motivated by the artist’s desire to ‘make my own pool’ (N. Stangos, ibid., pp. 5-6).

Part of Hockney’s attraction to paper pulping was that it was—in itself—a watery medium. During his time at Tyler’s studio he became intimately connected to the process. After capturing the pool in Polaroids and full-scale outline drawings, he created a series of metal moulds which were positioned over still-wet sheets of newly handmade paper. Into the moulds, he poured wet pulped rags which had been immersed in different dyes, using the metal frames to manipulate his lines like drawing. After the moulds were removed, the pulp-laden sheets were squeezed and flattened, before being finished by hand. Water, itself, had literally become part of the art. The results, as demonstrated here, were dynamic and liquescent, the distressed edges of the paper lapping at the borders of the work like waves. ‘Every time that you look at the surface, you look through it, you look under it’, explained Hockney (D. Hockney, quoted in N. Stangos, ibid., p. 21). In Green Pool with Diving Board and Shadow, we are instantly transported to the sun-drenched, glassy waters of a Stateside summer, and enveloped within their cool depths.

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