David Hockney

Water Pouring into Swimming Pool, Santa Monica


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
David Hockney born 1937
Lithograph on paper
Support: 514 x 663 mm
Presented by Jonathan Cheshire and Gareth Marshallsea in memory of Peter Coni 1994


When Hockney moved to Los Angeles in 1964, he was fascinated by the use of water for irrigation and recreation in the semi-arid environment. He delighted in experimenting with various methods of depicting drops and sprays of water. This lithograph was made at the instigation of the Atelier Matthieu in Zurich, and relates to a 1965 painting, Different Kinds of Water Pouring into a Swimming Pool, Santa Monica (private collection). The depiction of water in these pictures is highly stylised. Hockney later said that water 'offered an opportunity for abstraction - almost as much a recurring desire as painting a portrait' (Stangos, p.100). Hockney's 1964 lithographs marked a return to the technique after a gap of ten years.

Further reading:
Nikos Stangos (ed.), David Hockney by David Hockney, London 1976, p.100, reproduced p.116
Marco Livingstone, David Hockney, revised edition, London 1987, pp.74-5
Marco Livingstone, David Hockney: Etchings and Lithographs, exhibition catalogue, Waddington Graphics, London 1988, [p.9], reproduced pl.13 in colour

Terry Riggs
November 1997

Display caption

This lithograph was made in 1964, the year Hockney moved to Los Angeles. From his fascination with the swimming pool culture of California, Hockney became interested in the challenge of depicting the appearance and movement of water. It is, says Hockney, 'an interesting formal problem to represent water, to describe water, because it can be anything - it can be any colour, it's movable, it has no set visual description.'

Gallery label, August 2004

You might like