"David Hockney's art has been lively from the first because he has conducted his education in public with a charming and endearing innocence. The pictures are often distinctly autobiographical, confirming Hockney's place in the grand tradition of English eccentricity. He has at each stage given us touchingly curious indications of how he felt, what he knew and whom he admired. The humor both disguises feeling and insists that it is too strong to reveal without being disguised."
"Much, even most of Hockney's pre-1965 work can be characterized positively as charged with energy, or negatively as overloaded with information and inconsistent stylistic devices. Therein, given either characterization, lies its immaturity and its charm. It is fruitless to accuse the early work of not being later. What surprises is how much the early work bears scrutiny, how well it stands up in its inconsistencies. A presence, a sureness, a wit keep these paintings from going too far towards private and obscure reference, keep the excesses of stylistic diversity in hand, just in hand in some cases" (H. Geldzahler, ed. David Hockney by David Hockney, New York, 1976, pp. 9-10).
David Hockney dedicated the present work, titled A Man Thinking, to his friend Paul Jenkins. In the painting Hockney portrays a man, perhaps Jenkins, thinking/creating a painting. Hockney used a palette similar to Jenkins' preferred rainbow to represent the act of creation. Hockney's work from 1962 often represents an isolated figure or two, who are juxtiposed with a segment of landscape or still life and added bits of associated text. A Man Thinking presents many of the stylistic elements that define Hockney's work: a fascination with the male nude, elegant draughtsmanship, masterful color and a subtle, compelling narrative. 1962 was an important year in the artist's life, during which time he graduated from the Royal College of Art, exhibited again with the Young Contemporaries and began selling his paintings through Paul Kasmin. The present work was selected by the British Art Council for a traveling 1976 exhibition that focused upon British Pop.