David Hockney continues to inspire us with his protean approach to creating images. He constantly questions techniques, received wisdom and the way that we look at the world around us. Throughout his career he has been a committed printmaker, complementing his work as a painter. From etchings to iPads, Hockney has pushed the practice of creating multiple images with a relentless verve and curiosity.
This is the first comprehensive exhibition of Hockney’s early etchings made between 1961–1964. They are personal, filled with youthful energy and rich with autobiographical content. Perhaps most interestingly, they reveal his original approach to printmaking – a medium he adopted as an impecunious student at the Royal College of Art. He continued etching after his graduation and it was the submission of the etching, Three Kings and a Queen, that won him the art prize enabling him to make his first trip to the United States. This visit inspired the groundbreaking series A Rake’s Progress.
We are indebted to all those who have helped with the exhibition, including Leslie and Johanna Garfield, Simon Aaron, Stefan Turnbull and John Kasmin. We also wish to thank Tate for the loan of Queen and the Royal College of Art who allowed us to include Big Tyger, a painting from Hockney's student days. We extend thanks also to Hockney Pictures, Sarah Greenberg and Marco Livingstone for his thoughtful advice and catalogue essay.
The works in this exhibition form a portrait of the artist as a young man and enhance our understanding of Hockney’s artistic roots. We are delighted to be collaborating on this long overdue survey. It is a period of the artist’s work for which we share a great enthusiasm.