'David Hockney spent the summer of 1976 on Fire Island, New York, with art curator Henry Geldzahler and poet Christopher Isherwood, reading the poems of Wallace Stevens. He especially loved the long poem entitled The Man with the Blue Guitar, which had been inspired by Picasso's painting The Old Guitarist of 1903. Hockney had admired the works of Picasso for a long time, and he was excited by the way Stevens had woven an allusive and musical text around the theme of the interplay between reality and imagination' (see P. Webb, Portrait of David Hockney, London, 1988).
The present work is from a series of drawings executed in 1977, inspired by the poem and owe a great debt to Picasso. The disparate images are not easy to read as interpretations of the poet's themes, but what holds them together is the continual reference to the example of Picasso.