David Hockney

Red Celia


David Hockney born 1937
Lithograph on paper
Image: 760 × 545 mm
Presented by the artist 1993


This lithograph of Celia Birtwell is one of numerous portraits with which Hockney has celebrated his close friendship with the designer over the years. Celia first met Hockney in Los Angeles in 1964. With her husband Ossie Clark, she was at the top of the fashion industry in London in the 'Swinging Sixties'. Clark designed clothes using Birtwell's textile designs, and sold them from the shop Quorum in Chelsea's King's Road. The couple are most famously represented in Hockney's large double portrait Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, 1970-1 (Tate Gallery T01269).

In Red Celia Hockney's use of brushwork rather than lithographic crayons conveys a sense of movement and energy. The all-red lithograph owes a great deal to Matisse and Picasso. Hockney depicts the sitter's face from two viewpoints, profile and frontal. A portion of the face in Red Celia recurs in the Cubist-inspired lithograph An Image of Celia, 1984-6 (Tate Gallery P20116).

Further reading:
David Hockney: A Retrospective, exhibition catalogue, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles 1988
Marco Livingstone, David Hockney: Etchings and Lithographs, exhibition catalogue, Waddington Graphics, London 1988, reproduced pl.93 in colour

Terry Riggs
December 1997

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