The complex forty-two colour lithograph An Image of Celia was presented to the Tate Gallery in 1993, by Hockney. This piece was created over a period of two years, from 1984–6, and uses elements from other Celia works; the red face is the frontal view taken from Hockney’s lithograph Red Celia (1984), while the other head is from the painting which the artist produced for the December 1985 issue of the French Vogue magazine.
An Image of Celia is a cubist work, which brings together different views of Celia in a fragmented and abstract manner. This style seems particularly fitting for such a portrait, as Birtwell herself was influenced by the works of Pablo Picasso. The bold red and blue hues vibrantly blend the two bodies; in contrast, the black and white background serves to further lift the image from the paper.
The representations of Celia give an insight into the artist’s thoughts and feelings. One face is made-up and posed, exuding glamour and confidence; the other, more natural face, portrays a tenderness and sensitivity. However, both images share a distinct femininity: delicate hands, and slender crossed legs which flow down to pointed toes. An Image of Celia is a truly intimate piece of Hockney’s art.
Unlike many of his pop art contemporaries, David Hockney is inspired solely by subject matter that has personal meaning; he has painted portraits of friends, lovers and relatives throughout his career.
David Hockney (born 9 July 1937) is an English painter, also known for his photography, printmaking, stage design and work as a draughtsman. Awarded the gold medal by the Royal College of Art in 1962, Hockney is one of the most influential British artists of the 20th Century. Famous for his contribution to the pop art movement in the 1960s, his unique approach draws upon numerous visual art styles.