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Green Pool with Diving Board and Shadow (Paper Pool 3)

Green Pool with Diving Board and Shadow (Paper Pool 3)
signed with the artist's initials and dated 'D.H. 78' (lower right); signed again and numbered 'David Hockney 3-D' (on the reverse)
colored, pressed paper pulp
50 x 32 1/4 in. (127 x 81.8 cm.)
Executed in 1978. This work is one of fifteen unique variants.
André Emmerich Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the late owner, 1983
N. Stangos, ed., David Hockney: Paper Pools, New York, 1980, pp. 30-31 (another variant illustrated).
K. E. Tyler, Tyler Graphics: Catalogue Raisonné, 1974-1985, New York, 1987, p. 163, no. 238:DH3 (another variant illustrated).
D. Hockney, David Hockney: Redefining the Terms of Art and Life, Tokyo, 1989 (another variant illustrated).
Manchester, Art and Furniture, Pictures by David Hockney, November 1980-January 1981, n.p., no. H (another variant exhibited).
Tokyo, Odakyu Grand Gallery, David Hockney, April-May 1989, n.p., no. 15 (another variant exhibited and illustrated).
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Please note this work is signed and numbered 'David Hockney 3-D' (on the reverse).


Kathryn Widing
Kathryn Widing Vice President, Senior Specialist, Head of 21st Century Evening Sale


"It’s a wonderful subject, water, the light on the water… every time you look at the surface, you look through it, you look under it…" David Hockney
A warm aura of cheery sunlight emanates from David Hockney’s 1978 Green Pool With Diving Board and Shadow (Paper Pool 3), as if welcoming the viewer to jump right off its springboard into the cool water below. Fluid and sparkling yet frozen in time, the dazzling water of this Hockney pool plays into the artist’s careerlong penchant for capturing a temporal subject, as well as his quest to push the boundaries of realism in the contemporary era. One of the most iconic and beloved motifs, not only in Hockney’s oeuvre but in 20th and 21st century art as a whole, the pool functions as a window into the artist’s sunny California lifestyle, a challenge in the technical nature of realistic painting, and a surface from which his passion for color can radiate. From the collection of Nicole Emmerich Teweles, sister of renowned gallerist André Emmerich, this stunning example of Hockney’s pioneering paper pulp series frames Hockney as a significant figure in the history of painting, highlighting Emmerich’s distinct recognition of the artist’s unique mode of innovation.
Hockney began and completed his paper pulp pool series in the late summer of 1978. In the midst of traveling from England back to Los Angeles, the artist decided to stop off in upstate New York to visit the graphics studio of distinguished print maker, Ken Tyler, who at that point had been a friend and collaborator of Hockney’s for over a decade. Unexpectedly, this spontaneous stop in Bedford Village morphed into an almost two month stay as Tyler unveiled to Hockney his new paper pulp technique. With metal ‘cookie cutter’ molds crafted from a series of Polaroid images and the watery pulp of unmade paper, Tyler gave the artist a process by which color could be applied to a page before it even was one. After fabricating the metal molds, the two partners would pour the raw paper material inside to be carefully pigmented by Hockney’s masterful hand. The filled molds would then be pressed and dried culminating in the completed page, vibrant and multidimensional in both color and texture. In combining the act of coloring with the surface onto which color is normally applied, Tyler’s paper pulp process created an art object that was neither print nor painting; it was something entirely its own.
Hockney was captivated. The ability to use a water-based process to depict his iconic water-filled pools was a tantalizing paradox he was unable to resist. In a creative fit he began working tirelessly with Tyler and his studio, toiling for hours on end, hardly stopping to sleep. Drenched in the summer sun of upstate New York, he captured on film the images of Tyler’s teal green pool which would shape this seminal series and hand crafted the pages that would come to occupy such a highly regarded position in his larger body of work. This whirl of inspiration would result in the creation of 29 unique images, some, such as this example, produced in several iterations, but every single one original in its texture and color distribution as a result of its medium and in perfect harmony with its ephemeral subject. After experiencing a bit of a creative plateau in the mid to late 70s, the inventiveness of Ken Tyler would cement the duo’s partnership as a pivotal component of Hockney’s career and lead the artist into one of his most prolific decades.
Working in the wake of Abstract Expressionism, as vivacious color field painting was taking hold of the contemporary eye from the more brooding and action-filled powerhouses of the 1950s, Hockney and his devout figuration were starkly set apart from his contemporaries. Grounded in realism and conventional verisimilitude, the artist’s work could have easily felt out of place in the canon of art taking shape around him, yet Hockney was a constant innovator. Passionate about the advancement of painting technique while insistent on maintaining figuration, Hockney sought ways to advance the reality based work he was so inclined towards in the face of an artworld laser-focused on pure abstraction. In this pursuit he found his place alongside, though not quite amongst, the colorists. As with these artists, color became the key feature of a Hockney work, his salmon pinks, aquamarines, crimson reds, and leafy greens becoming synonymous with his name. Yet unlike the color field painters, hue was not his excusive focus. “His is a passion for the world as it is,” stated art critic, Christopher Knight, “but it is a passion matched by a relentless desire to make the enigma of simple experience more habitable and congenial, to render it less mystifying but no less delightfully mysterious” (C. Knight, David Hockney: A Retrospective, Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, 1988, p. 24). Hockney, in contrast to his contemporaries, was not abstracting reality and reflecting it through symbolic hues or depths of pigments. He remained at his core a realist, but was able to bend reality through his use of color, make it palatable, make it enchanting. His embrace of the pigmentation of his time period leaves the eyes longing for more, for a reality as vibrant and full of life as a Hockney scene.
André Emmerich, a fervent patron of Color Field painters, saw this invention in Hockney, the innovative blending of classical notions of realism with contemporary color expressions. At that time, Emmerich boasted artist relations with the likes of Helen Frankenthaler, Josef Albers, and Robert Motherwell: a lengthy list of artists playing with color through abstract means. With his keen eye for vibrancy in art, Emmerich’s support of the color field painters helped to validate the movement on a large scale and, in Hockney, he saw a new way to bring about this liveliness in the artistic canon. The pair were fast friends and Emmerich became Hockney’s primary dealer for a significant portion of his career, elevating the artist’s work in the public eye and helping him achieve the level of recognition he so deserved. In 1986, Emmerich commissioned Hockney to paint the floor of his own pool at Top Gallant park, a testament to their friendship and to the magnitude of the pool motif.
Infused with the cool aquamarine tint of a sun soaked, backyard pool, David Hockney’s Green Pool With Diving Board and Shadow (Paper Pool 3) is a marvelous example of the artist’s constantly innovative approach to artistic creation. With brilliant use of color and an avant-garde inclination towards experimental mediums, Hockney’s work bridges the gap between figuration and Color Field painting, allowing for a new mode of expression entirely his own. A resounding presence in the collection of Nicole Emmerich Teweles, this vibrant work sits fittingly alongside the Color Field works of its time, cementing our understanding of Hockney as a master of hue on par with the Colorists.

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