David Hockney - Contemporary Art Part II New York Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Collection of the artist; Private collection, USA

  • Exhibited

    Venice, California, LA Louver, Seven Rooms Seven Artists, July 13 - September 2, 2006

  • Catalogue Essay

       "I'd done one or two watercolors a long time ago," he explained, "but never really explored the medium, and unless you truly explore a new medium like that, you don't really get into it.  Watercolors are very difficult to use.  Oil paint you can do almost anything with, because it doesn't dry quickly and you can always just wipe it off.  But you can't do that with watercolors.  Once the marks are down, they're there.  They dry very quickly.  Which was a bit forbidding, that and the fact that there's a long tradition of watercoloring, especially in England, with all its tricks and by-now stylized techniques, all of which put me off the medium for a long time."     Nevertheless, he now did become interested.  Why?
       "The full-laden brush, I realized, was very effective.  It's the most direct method of laying in a mark flowing from the eye, the heart, down the arm to the hand, through the tip of your instrument, everything flowing very quickly and seamlessly.  Oil painting in a sense you have to push.  Watercolor just flows, ink flows.  Much more immediate and direct."
       As opposed, for that matter, to the mediated fixity of the projected optical image?   "Precisely, it's more lively.  The thing is it does take a while to master the techniques--having to work, say from light to dark, because unlike with oils, you won't be able subsequently to daub a light color onto a dark one.  Everything has to be thought out in advance--and I realized it would take time to master all this.  I had to ask myself, was I going to be willing to take six months to learn it all?  Well, I was and I did, and it took even longer, master the medium, innovating new techniques, but by the end I'd broken into this looser, more immediate way of being present to my material." 
       David Hockey, from L. Weschler, "Sometime take the Time," from D. Hockney, Hand Eye Heart, Los Angeles, 2005, p. 52


Kviknes Hotel, Balestrand (in four parts)

Watercolor on paper.
54 1/8 x 42 1/2 in. (137.5 x 108 cm) overall.
Initialed and dated "DH 02" lower right. 

$400,000 - 600,000 

Contemporary Art Part II

14 Nov 2008, 10am & 2pm
New York