The work of David Hockney (b. 1937) was discovered by influential dealer and gallerist John Kasmin while Hockney was still a student at the Royal College of Art, building London’s pop art scene alongside Peter Blake and RB Kitaj. Kasmin bought his first Hockey painting from the 1961 ‘Young Contemporaries’ exhibition, marking the beginning of a long relationship.
Kasmin speaks most highly of Hockney’s graphic works, describing his prints as ‘inventive, flowing and happy’. This exhibition brings together work from the celebrated ‘Brothers Grimm’ suite of etchings, published by Kasmin’s gallery in 1970.
When selecting from over 200 stories collected by the Brothers Grimm, Hockney was drawn to what he described as the ‘psychological strangeness’ of the tales depicted in this exhibition. They allowed him to explore the relationships and motivations of the characters, and presented the challenge of depicting the supernatural and surreal.
The resulting work has an unmistakably personal approach. Works such as ‘A Black Cat Leaping’ and ‘Inside the Castle’ use the same perspective devices as Hockney’s earlier portraiture, implying the artist’s point of view, and a relationship between the artist and (imaginary) sitter.
Hockney’s technical mastery of etching was already evident in his re-imagining of Hogarth’s ‘A Rake’s Progress’, published in the early 1960s. The ‘Brothers Grimm’ suite shows a more refined approach to the medium, dispensing with colour and exploring the subtleties offered by intaglio techniques. Solid line and deep-biting aquatint give depth, with traditional cross-hatching and soft-ground plates providing texture and tone.
‘Six Tales from The Brothers Grimm’ is the first exhibition in Gallagher & Turner’s new gallery space on St Mary’s Place, Newcastle upon Tyne. Alongside a sister gallery and workshop space in Newcastle’s creative hub at Hoults Yard (due to open in May 2016), Gallagher & Turner will present an ever-changing programme of selling exhibitions, specialising in the best of 20th century British art, alongside some of our favourite local artists and international names.