Livingroom at Malibu with View


At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Maurice Tuchman and Stephanie Barron organize David Hockney: A Retrospective, Hockney’s first comprehensive retrospective in eighteen years, with 250 works—paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, publications, and theater design models. It opens in February; by the end of its run, it is the most well-attended contemporary art exhibition in LACMA’s history. When the show travels to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, John Russell writes in the New York Times that Hockney “emerges as a very gifted though not always docile student, a painter and printmaker who has done enviably well not only for himself but for those who have handled his work, and a man of restless and almost universal curiosity who has never been content to do the same thing over and over again.” 

Self Portrait
Self Portrait with Hat and Slippers

The exhibition travels to the Tate Gallery in London next, but is nearly cancelled when Hockney considers removing works in protest of proposed anti-homosexual legislation by Margaret Thatcher’s government. That [NESTED]outcome is averted, and Hockney expands the parameters of the retrospective’s timeline to include very recent paintings in a final gallery. In Burlington Magazine Julian Spalding describes that gallery as “a visually encompassing dance ... aiming at a new vividness of portrayal that is both startling and sweet.”

Hockney in the studio
Hockney in the studio

Malibu house/studio

A new house in Malibu provides a new studio, where Hockney paints the sea as well as portraits of friends and family, which he photocopies on his Canon color copier upon completion, providing prints to the sitters.

Malibu House, 1988

The beach house was owned by an old lady who had lived here for decades—an amateur painter actually. She’d built a small studio on the hill at the back of the house with an electric lift to get her into it. I enjoy using that lift too and so do the dogs!... When you live this close to the sea, when it literally comes up and splashes the windows, it is not the horizon line which dominates, but the close movement of the water itself. It’s like fire and smoke, endlessly changing, endlessly fascinating.

The colors from the Canon machine were intense and very, very close to the originals. But what was it, this copy? A photograph but not a photograph? A copy without a conventional camera .... However, unlike a color photograph, where the colors seem to exist below the surface of the print itself, here was color which sat on top of the paper, giving it an incredible luminosity.

GA-115 p. 12
Paul Hockney I
John Hockney
Margaret Hockney I
Ken Wathey
My Mother, Bridlington
Livingroom at Malibu with View, 1988

Van Gogh chairs

He also makes “portraits” of chairs, prompted by an invitation from the Fondation Vincent van Gogh to participate in the centenary celebration of van Gogh’s arrival in Arles. Inspired by van Gogh’s painted chairs, Hockney creates several images, including a few that he paints using reverse-perspective. 

Office Chair, July 1988

Fax machine

Hockney’s printmaking via office technologies moves next to what he calls “a telephone for the deaf”—the fax machine. To his delight, telephonic transmission offers speed of distribution. Hockney faxes images around the world, dubbing the venture The Hollywood Sea Picture Supply Co., testing out new ways to manipulate and distort images, and increasingly creating multi-sheet compositions that require the receiver to piece the work together.

Photograph of Chair in Reverse Perspective

Many of them were made from paintings of the sea, stretched on one machine, reduced another way, crammed in, pasted up, made into a collage and then into a fax. I began sending them out to various people who immediately responded by asking me how I got such clear pictures from a fax machine .... There’s no such thing as a bad printing machine. To make half-tones, for instance, you don’t use washes for something to look like a wash, you use opaque gray; the machine read the opaque gray and made the dots itself .... I played with the faxes for about six months. Next to the fax machine I had a new black-and-white laser copier with which I now began to do all kinds of things, not just reduce: I could use it to bend images, play with variations or put one image inside another.

As people became aware of what I was doing, they would call and ask me to send the latest fax. First I would send a detailed plan of how the pages should be pasted together, followed by the work itself. My phone bills became enormous! Then I realized that people have different kinds of fax machines at the other end—old ones and new ones. The old ones were incredibly slow sometimes. Once I send one to an old machine, they rarely get another!



  • David Hockney: A Retrospective, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA, USA (Feb 4–Apr 24), travels to Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Jun 18–Aug 14) and Tate Gallery, London (Oct 26, 1988–Jan 3, 1989); catalogue.
  • Portrait Drawings, a 20 Year Survey, André Emmerich Gallery, New York, NY, USA (Jun 2–Jul 29).
  • David Hockney: A Retrospective, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA (Jun 18–Aug 14).
  • Prints, Pace Prints, New York, NY, USA (Jun 23–Aug 1).
  • David Hockney: A Retrospective, Tate Gallery, London, UK (Oct 26, 1988–Jan 8, 1989).
  • Some New Paintings, Knoedler Gallery, London, UK (opens Oct 27, 1988); catalogue.


  • First Person Singular: Self Portrait Photography, 1840–1986, High Museum, Atlanta, GA, USA (Jan 14–Mar 4); catalogue.
  • The British Picture, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA, USA (Feb 5–Mar 5); catalogue.



  • David Hockney. A Private View, Editions Graphiques Gallery, London.
  • David Hockney A Retrospective supplement: Commercial Printing is an Artist’s Medium, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, New York: Harry N. Abrams.
  • David Hockney, Art & Design, London: Academy Group Ltd..
  • David Hockney. A Private View, Editions Graphiques Gallery, London.
  • David Hockney: Some New Paintings, by David Hockney, London.
  • Hockney on Photography, by Paul Joyce, London: Jonathan Cape Ltd..
  • David Hockney: Etchings and Lithographs, by Marco Livingstone, London: Thames & Hudson.
  • David Hockney: A Retrospective, by Kenneth Silver, New York: Harry N. Abrams.



  • A Day on the Grand Canal with the Emperor of China (or Surface Is Illusion but So Is Depth), 46 min., directed by Philip Haas, written by and starring David Hockney.
We use cookies to analyze our traffic. Please decide if you are willing to accept cookies from our website.