David HockneyMr and Mrs Clark and Percy 1970-1

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Artwork details

David Hockney (born 1937)
Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy
Date 1970-1
MediumAcrylic paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 2134 x 3048 mm frame: 2170 x 3084 x 58 mm
Acquisition Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1971
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1960


This is one of a series of large double portraits which Hockney began in 1968. He had painted imaginary couples in such earlier paintings as The First Marriage (A Marriage of Styles) 1963 (Tate T00596). In the later paintings, the subjects are real couples who were Hockney’s friends. They are portrayed in their home environment in a style which is both realistic and highly simplified. Hockney worked from photographs and life observation, making drawings to resolve composition. Usually one character looks at the other, who looks out of the painting at the viewer, thus creating a cyclical movement of looking. Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy is unusual in that both subjects, Mr and Mrs Clark, look out at the artist and viewer from either side of a large open window which is in the centre of the painting. The viewer, who looks at the painting from a central perspective, will be at the apex of the couple’s gaze out of the painting, a third in the relationship. Percy is the name of one of the Clarks’ cats and refers to the cat sitting statue-like on Mr Clark’s knee, looking out of the window. ‘Mr and Mrs Clark’ are the dress designer Ozzie Clark and the fabric designer Celia Birtwell… (read more)

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