I'm being a bit lazy, and am re-posting this from 2010.
This picture, by David Hockney, is of Peter Schlesinger (his boyfriend at the time) getting out of a swimming pool in Los Angeles. The pool was owned by an American gallery owner (called Nick), but you knew all that!
I'd been to David's 1970 retrospective at London's Whitechapel Gallery, and he'd invited me for tea that afternoon.
David lived in a first floor flat, in a rather dour and unassuming house in Powis Terrace, Notting Hill, but the inside was quite different. He'd managed to buy the first floor flat of the house next door, and had knocked the two into one, creating a huge space. His studio was large and airy, and on the day of my visit he was working on a painting of a couple in The Luxembourg Gardens with their backs to the viewer. I don't think I've ever seen the finished job.
When it came time for actual tea, David reeled off the most staggering choice of different flavours; predictably I chose Lapsang. The tea was made, and served, by the lovely Peter (seen above getting out of Nick's pool), who was wearing an apron and not much else.
It's possibly worth noting that on the day of my visit, David's studio was totally empty (other than the job he was working on). Later that same week I was invited to tea by artist Ivon Hitchens at his ramshackle Sussex home; the place was piled high with framed paintings. David sold everything as soon as the paint was dry; the great Ivon presumably didn't.
When I left Ivon, his wife gave me a huge peony from her garden, but by the time I'd reached home it had completely fallen apart; beauty so fleeting. Ivon died not long afterwards; David, of course, is still going strong.
I like to think that I keep the Ivon approach to work alive; I also have a pile of unsold paintings.
Better to have a pile of unsold paintings than a pile of empty canvasses. (I like Hockney's work.)ReplyDelete
I loved David's earlier work, I find some of new stuff a little weak. He's still one of Britain's finest.Delete
What a lovely account of your tea with David Hockney, Cro. In so few words you have captured both your visits to these artists splendidly.ReplyDelete
The fact that both Tea visits were in the same week; it was a week to remember.Delete
If I wore an apron and not much else today I think I would freeze to death.ReplyDelete
To this day, I can't really imagine why he was dressed like that, unless David insisted on it!Delete
Rubber aprons and rubber gloves were a great favorite of David's. He liked the domestic scene.Delete
Hmmmm. I can imagine.Delete
Do you like the Queen's stained glass window Cro?ReplyDelete
Not terribly. I doubt if Liz was all that enamoured either.Delete
Do you remember that strange Northern girl who did sculpture with me at Farnham - the one who only ever made walking sticks? Hockney made the mistake of inviting her for tea once, and she began visiting him uninvited every day for weeks. She came to college one day in tears, and when we asked her what the matter was, she said "David told me to eff off and never come back."ReplyDelete
I remember her well; totally nuts. Alice something.Delete
Nice walking sticks though. Maybe she has to use them in earnest these days (or maybe in Earnest).Delete
Tea? Oh dear. I like artists who let you get at their booze.ReplyDelete
You wouldn't be offered Tea here; unless it was Teatime, of course.Delete
That's more like it!Delete
I had several watercolors stacked and ready to sell and then my house was burned in a wildfire and I lost everything but the children. I stopped watercolors foe years. Did big oil painting, ceramics and torn paper.ReplyDelete
Life is strange.
cheers, parsnip and badger
Most of my unsold, stored, paintings are quite large. My agent does his best, but I no longer have much confidence in further sales.Delete
I've never sold a painting. But then, I'm not very good and don't show anyone but my family. Their reaction isn't much to write about either!ReplyDelete
Practice makes perfect, or as perfect as possible.Delete
What an incredible coincidence Cro. I have just been at the Walker Art Gallery with which I was involved back in the Sixties. I particularly went to see the John Moores exhibits and the Hockney in particular. I didn't like it when it won the John Moores Exhibition but it has grown on me since. I was at the opening of the exhibition that year and was standing next to John Moores when he made the pronouncement to Hugh Scrutton the then Director of the Gallery that 'Hockney would be one of the greats.' Of course if Moores said it it would automatically happen. He had bought the painting and other early HockneysReplyDelete