Hockney was commissioned to design a poster to advertise the event, and only 1000 billboards were made at the time. Original posters are sought-after and attract a lot of interest when they are offered for sale.
Hockney is considered a highly influential British artist who was born in Bradford, England in 1937. He studied at Bradford College of Art followed by the Royal Academy of Art in London where he experimented with many different forms of art.
Drawn by the strong light and a free-spirited atmosphere Hockney moved to Los Angeles in 1966 where he painted one of his most well-known works ‘A Bigger Splash’. Turquoise swimming pools and the colourful streets of Mulholland Drive feature heavily in his work.
Some of his painting and photographs from western California show a quiet nod to homosexuality and homoeroticism.
Picasso and Matisse have influenced Hockney’s art and examples of this can be seen regularly in his work. For example, Hockney produced a series of etchings named The Blue Guitar which echo Picasso’s The Old Guitarist oil painting.
There is a pronounced connection between Picasso and Harlequin from Parade - the Spanish painter designed the costumes and sets in the original ballet ‘Parade’ when it opened in Paris in 1917.
The ballet is a surreal piece which mixed modern music, art and dance. Some of the costumes in 1917 were made from cardboard to create a 3-D Cubist effect typical of Picasso at the time. The harlequin character in the ballet is a lonely outsider who is a highly skilled acrobat.
Hockney used primary colours in his poster design Harlequin from Parade. The simple geometric shapes in the background give this piece a pop art feel. The Harlequin walks on his hands in a light-hearted stance, but his face is masked in a more sinister mood.
The harlequin was a much-painted image for Picasso, but Hockney uses irregular shapes in his work instead of more traditional diamond shapes, and prefers red, white and blue to create a cleaner look.