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Portrait of the artist (Pool with two figures)

Painting, 1972, 305×214 cm

Description of the artwork «Portrait of the artist (Pool with two figures)»

Despite the variety of works by David Hockney, the most recognizable of his paintings were images of pools. Bright sun, deep shadows, clear blue water and thick greens ... These canvases are imbued with a sense of blissful serenity. However picture "Portrait of the artist" was written during the period when Hockney was depressed after a break with his beloved Peter Schlesinger.

This work has become a key element of the film “Big Splash” by Jack Hazan, released on screens in 1974. Canvas, which gave the namesemi-documentary film, Hockney was written at the peak of love. Khazan, who made the main emphasis on homosexual love drama in his film, built the narrative around the “Portrait of the Artist”. The picture has become a symbol of alienation, the abyss, which lies between the once close people.

Hazan shot the film for three years, at every opportunity he snatched the opportunity to photograph Hockney in a natural setting, with his real friends, at work, at social events. Often the artist did not even suspect that he was under the camera's eye. Teeming with naked male bodies and quite frank scenes, devoid of playfulness and theatricality, the tape turned out to be the most documentary and, as a result, deeply intimate.

When Hazan first showed the film Hockney, he was shocked. The artist fell into the deepest depression, he closed for two weeks in his house and cursed the day when he met the director. He even tried to buy the footage and the edited film from Hazan so that the public would not see him, but the director was adamant. And the tape became a kind of sensation. One of Hockney's friends after viewing stated that she was "truer than the truth itself." Firstly, the film allowed to look behind the veil of exclusive mystery surrounding the life of the bohemian public, and secondly, what is more important, he frankly spoke about homosexual relationships. Khazan recalls that after the release of the film, young gays began to go to the artist and thank him for helping other people to see ordinary people in homosexuals.

November 15, 2018 "Portrait of the Artist (Pool with two figures)" was sold at Christie's auction in New York for 90.3 million US dollarsby making David Hockney the most expensive living artist on the planet.

Author: Evgenia Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait, Genre scene

Style of art: Art Nouveau

Technique: Acrylic

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1972

Size: 305×214 cm

Artwork in selections: 56 selections