The Art Newspaper on 'how Hockney made it to America'



An exhibition of David Hockney’s very early work due to open at Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert gallery in London next month (David Hockney: The Complete Early Etchings 1961-64; 3 February-10 March) will reveal numerous nuggets about the fledgling career of Yorkshire’s most famous artist son. For instance, the Hockney scholar, Marco Livingstone, points out in an illuminating catalogue essay how young David managed to get to the States. “The first trip [Hockney] made to the USA in the summer break in 1961, thanks to a monetary prize he had been awarded for an earlier etching is commemorated in one of the most breezily engaging of his early prints, My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean. Here the young artist represents himself as a stick figure clinging on to the red, white and blue of the American flag, a symbol for him of the liberation he found in New York City,” he writes (the prize in question was awarded to the artist by the art dealer Robert Erskine for an etching entitled Three Kings and a Queen). The print specialist Lyndsey Ingram, who is opening a new space in Mayfair later this year, has worked on the Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert show, which is a top-notch adjunct to Tate Britain’s forthcoming Hockney blockbuster (9 February-29 May). 

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Image: David Hockney ‘The Acrobat’ Etching and aquatint, 1964.