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  • Literature

    Tyler Graphics 272
    Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo 266

  • Catalogue Essay

    The synaesthetic experience of Hockney’s Amaryllis in Vase: the colour, vibration and scent, pours out of the picture and envelops the viewer. Luscious, jewel-toned hues echo the joyous freedom and variety of mark-making that Hockney explored during the 1980s in painting, photography, and experimental lithography at the studio of Kenneth Tyler in California. It was with Tyler that Hockney embarked upon his ambitious Moving Focus series exploring his enduring concern with the construction of images, the complexities of space and the assembly of multiple perspectives.

    For Hockney, single-point perspective is a limited, constrictive way of communicating our experience of the world around us, which he likens to “looking at the world from the point of view of a paralyzed Cyclops - for a split second.” Drawing inspiration from the Cubism of Picasso’s 1980 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Hockney embraced a pictorial structure that could accommodate multiple viewpoints and perspectives as well as time and movement.

    For Amaryllis in Vase, Hockney uses reverse perspective, placing the shorter end of the table closer to the viewer in the foreground of the composition, with the longer side at the back of the picture space. By reversing the traditional vanishing point, Hockney exploits the fluctuations of deep and shallow space, pushing everything into the foreground and directly involving the viewer. The hazy chequerboard background (reminiscent of Persian miniature paintings) bulges and recedes in optical illusion as our eye flits across the surface. The wallpaper appears to melt into the flowers rather than sitting passively behind them and as the table tilts forwards, the eye calculates the possibility of the vase smashing onto the floor.
    Hockney recognises that we see both geometrically and psychologically and uses that knowledge to create images of sensuous line and colour, through which the eye dances and where edges of viewpoints fold into and across each other. Hockney compared the human experience of looking as a matter of layering, of understanding the present by comparing it with the past - layer upon layer. When we look at his Amaryllis in Vase we are seeing not only what is in front of us, but all of the vases of flowers that we have ever seen.

  • Artist Biography

    David Hockney

    British • 1937

    With a career stretching from the early 1960s to the present, David Hockney is perhaps best known for his bright, cheerful works depicting pools and other everyday scenes from his life in southern California. Originally from West Yorkshire, England, Hockney studied at the Royal College of Art in London before spending decades on both sides of the Atlantic. The artist got his start as part of the British Pop movement, though he’s also cited Modern masters like Picasso and Matisse as major influences on his unique style. 

    Having worked in mediums such as painting, photography, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and more, Hockney is among the most versatile artists of his time. Drawing on his lived experience, Hockney imparts obvious references to same-sex love and companionship in his work, a motif that began even before Britain decriminalized homosexuality in 1967. His work in present in the collections of institutions such as MoMA, the Pompidou and the Tate, which granted him a blockbuster career retrospective in 2017. At present, Hockney is one of the most expensive living artists to be sold at auction. 

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Amaryllis in Vase, from Moving Focus

Lithograph in colors, on TGL handmade paper, with full margins.
I. 46 x 32 1/2 in. (116.8 x 82.6 cm)
S. 50 x 36 in. (127 x 91.4 cm)

Signed, dated and numbered 51/80 in pencil (there were also 16 artist's proofs), published by Tyler Graphics Ltd., Bedford, New York (with their blindstamp), framed.

$50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for $100,000

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Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 17 October 2017