David Hockney Mirror, Mirror on the Wall 1961

Artwork details

Artist
David Hockney born 1937
Title
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Date 1961
Medium Etching and aquatint on paper
Dimensions Image: 405 x 497 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Jonathan Cheshire and Gareth Marshallsea in memory of Peter Coni 1994
Reference
P11377
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Summary

Hockney's early graphic works, made both while he was a student and shortly after he left the Royal College of Art in the early 1960s, laid the foundations for all his subsequent work. The earliest of these works are full of iconographic and stylistic experiment and of autobiographical allusions that often refer obliquely to the artist's homosexuality.

The quotations contained in this etching are taken from two homoerotic poems by C.P. Cavafy, 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' and 'The Mirror at the Entrance'. Hockney explained that 'the idea of making a mirror have feelings is a wonderful poetic idea that strongly appeals to me' (Stangos, p.64). Other works by Hockney which contain references to Cavafy's writings include A Grand Procession of Dignitaries in the Semi-Egyptian Style, 1961 (private collection) and his major series of etchings, Illustrations for Fourteen Poems from C.P. Cavafy, 1966 (Tate Gallery P77563-77575).

Further reading:
Nikos Stangos (ed.), David Hockney by David Hockney, London 1976, pp.14, 64, 65, reproduced p.57

Terry Riggs
November 1997

About this artwork