One of the most popular British artists of the twentieth century, David Hockney has been a versatile and prolific painter since the 1960s. It is his talent as a draftsman, however, that is at the core of his reputation, especially the drawings from life that he began making early in his career. Celia, Paris is a superb example of such a drawing. Frequently reproduced in the literature on Hockney, it is particularly important as a very refined example of the precise, delicate line drawing - indebted to Ingres and Picasso - that Hockney developed in the late 1960s, notably in portraits of friends and family. Celia Birtwell, a fabric designer, was Hockneyʼs most constant muse from 1968 on. (She and her husband, fashion designer Ossie Clark, are the subject of one of Hockneyʼs most famous paintings, Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy of 1970-71, in the Tateʼs collection). Hockney depicted Celia in many colored pencil drawings in the early 1970s. The present drawing, in which her relaxed pose conveys the intimacy between artist and sitter, is one of his earliest portraits of her.
Pen and ink on paper
17 x 14 inches (43.2 x 35.6 cm)
Gift of Katharine J. Rayner.
Initialed, dated, and titled Celia Paris. March / DH 1969.
Kasmin Ltd, London; Private Collection, UK; Katharine J. Rayner.