Celia Pondering


Medium: Lithograph

Sheet size: 37 x 30 1/8 inches

Frame size: 45 3/8 x 38 3/8 inches

Printer and Publisher: Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles

Edition size: 30, plus proofs

Catalogue Raisonné: MCAT 246

Signed, dated, and numbered in pencil, lower margin

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In 1979, Hockney turned his attention to portraiture, working with the Los Angeles print workshop Gemini G.E.L. on lithographic portraits of characters in his life. Hockney’s A Series of Hand-Drawn Lithographs from 1979-80 included three images of Hockney’s favorite model, Celia Birtwell, four of author William Burroughs and his friend James Grauerholz, two of Celia’s children Albert and George, and a rare self-portrait. Capturing the varying facets of his subjects, their shifting moods and poses, the portraits in this series offer a dynamic glimpse into the characters and personalities of Hockney’s models. The lithographs are printed in a muted, sepia-toned ink, claiming a departure from Hockney’s previous portraits which were often saturated with bright colors; the subdued palette communicating a softer, more intimate mood.

As one of the artist’s subtle portraits of Celia Birtwell, Celia Pondering represents Hockney’s unparalleled ability to capture his models as multi-faceted and dimensional characters with his simple, yet masterful line work. “Portraits aren’t just made up of drawing, they are made up of other insights as well. Celia is one of the few girls I know really well. I’ve drawn her so many times and knowing her makes it always slightly different. I don’t bother getting the likeness in her face because I know it so well. She has many faces and I think if you looked through all the drawings I’ve done of her, you’d see that they don’t look alike.” Hockney said (David Hockney: Travels with Pen, Pencil and Ink, 1978).

Other available works by David Hockney