”Has there ever been an artist quite as good at charming the public as David Hockney? Everyone knows the peroxide hair (now grey), the big glasses and the deep-voiced Yorkshire drollness. Hockney has touched the lives of millions of people who his arguably more talented contemporaries have never got near. He became the first British art star of the TV age – his easy-on-the-eye images and deadpan comments beamed into sitting rooms throughout the land – without appearing to do anything, except be himself.” Mark Hudson, The Telegraph, 2011
Although many critics are not impressed by his art, he is very popular with the public. I too have a soft spot for David Hockney and some of you may have seen me post about him in another blog earlier this year. He is a true ”Yorkshireman”, speaking his mind and being himself. I am from his home town in Bradford, West Yorkshire and am proud to say I attended the same college as him, but 20 years later and I studied business not art! I love to visit the Salts Mill Gallery where much of his work is displayed. http://www.saltsmill.org.uk/
An important contributor to the Pop art movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century.
Trying not to get too carried away with who he is, I must go on to talk about his muse, Celia Birtwell. After all my theme this week is about women in art. As years have gone by, many who enjoy the various arts have a muse, including myself. Hockney has drawn and painted many images of Celia and also some with her partner Ossie Clark. It has never been said he was in love with her, as he is openly gay, however they had a great friendship throughout their careers and I like to hope that they still do.
Celia Birtwell is a highly successful woman in her own right, being the most important textile designer of her generation. More about her can be seen at her website http://www.celiabirtwell.com.
I hope you enjoy some of these unusual and eclectic pieces of art featuring Celia.
This above etching of Celia Birtwell is typical of the fine and tender portraits with which Hockney has celebrated his close friendship with the designer over the years. Celia first met Hockney in Los Angeles in 1964. She is most famously represented in Hockney’s large double portrait Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, 1970-1 (below). 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. (Tate.org.uk)
By the mid-1980s, Hockney was moving away from naturalism, drawing inspiration from early modern artists in his use of brighter colours and looser modelling.
I do hope you have enjoyed today’s Women in Art.