David Hockney - Evening & Day Editions London Thursday, June 6, 2024 | Phillips
  • “Water, the idea of drawing water, is always appealing to me. If it’s clear water anyway, transparent water. You can look on it, through it, into it, see it as volume, see it as surface...the idea of representing it has always rather fascinated me and I keep going back to it."
    —David Hockney

    Considered Britain’s most successful living artist, for David Hockney it is the swimming pool motif that has become a symbol of his worldwide acclaim. Hockney’s obsession with pools originated in 1964, when the artist first travelled from post-war London to sunny Los Angeles. While flying over the southern Californian city, the artist noticed a multitude of swimming pools dotted across the land. Hockney recalled: “As we flew in over Los Angeles I looked down to see blue swimming pools all over, and I realised that a swimming pool in England would have been a luxury, whereas here they are not, because of the climate.” Born in a working-class family in Northern England, Hockney found in Los Angeles the land of the American Dream, and swimming pools soon appeared to him as a socio-economic emblem through which he visually defined the utopian-like city.


    Claude Monet, La Grenouillère, 1869, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Image: © Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929, 29.100.112

    Water, and in particular, its inherent connection to light, has been an endless source of fascination for artists over history. Hockney made numerous acrylic paintings of swimming pools between the 1960s and 1970s and continued to return to the motif in various media. In the late 1970s, encouraged by his close friend and master printmaker Kenneth Tyler, the artist produced a series of lithographs that addressed the technical challenge of depicting the ever-changing surface of water. Executed between 1978 and 1980, Lithographic Water is an edition of eleven lithographic prints depicting the same scene: a sun-drenched swimming pool complete with a diving board that juts out at a diagonal angle, echoing the modernist cantilevers of Los Angeles’ architecture as it casts its shadow over the moving water below. Hockney used a single aluminium plate to create the edition, which allowed him to finely craft his graphic mark-making to vividly represent the transparent effect of water and its movement in the sun.


    Kenneth Tyler resting on the diving board of his swimming pool.
    Image: © Lindsay Green.

    Printed by Tyler Graphics, Lithographic Water attests to the close creative relationship between Hockney and Kenneth Tyler. Following their first collaboration on a set of six colour lithographs entitled The Hollywood Collection in 1965, Hockney continued to work with Tyler for almost four decades. Another of Hockney’s swimming pools prints, Pool Made with Paper and Blue Ink for Book, from Paper Pools, was in fact inspired by Tyler’s backyard swimming pool – as Hockney recalls:

    “Ken had a swimming pool in the garden… I kept looking at the swimming pool… it was a wonderful subject – water, the light on the water… every time you see it, it takes on a different character. You look at the surface, you look below it, you look through it, everyday it looks different.”

    Expressive of the freedom that characterised Los Angeles in the late twentieth century, Hockney’s swimming pools are an embodiment of positivity, serenity, and joy. They are celebrated as one of the most instantly recognisable images in contemporary art and embody the artist’s decades-long fascination with depicting the fluidity of water. Hockney’s lithographic swimming pool prints are a remarkable example of the artist’s skill in printmaking, confirming his ranks as one of the most significant and innovative artists of his generation.

    • Literature

      Tyler Graphics 253
      Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo 210

    • Artist Biography

      David Hockney

      David Hockney (b. 1937) is one of the most well-known and celebrated artists of the
      20th and 21st centuries. He works across many mediums, including painting, collage,
      and more recently digitally, by creating print series on iPads. His works show semi-
      abstract representations of domestic life, human relationships, floral, fauna, and the
      changing of seasons.

      Hockney has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Royal
      Academy of Arts in London, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, among many
      other institutions. On the secondary market, his work has sold for more than $90

      View More Works


Lithographic Water Made of Lines (T.G. 253, M.C.A.T. 210)

Lithograph in blue, on TGL handmade paper, with full margins.
I. 55 x 74.5 cm (21 5/8 x 29 3/8 in.)
S. 73.7 x 86.5 cm (29 x 34 in.)

Signed, dated and numbered 'AP VII' in pencil (one of 12 artist's proofs in Roman numerals, the edition was 42), published by Tyler Graphics, Ltd., Bedford Village, New York (with their blindstamp), 1980, framed.

Full Cataloguing

£60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for £82,550

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 6 - 7 June 2024