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  • A French Triple Bill 1982 (Metropolitan Opera) by David Hockney

A French Triple Bill 1982 (Metropolitan Opera) by David Hockney

Petersburg Press



Edition Size: hand signed by artist

Sheet Size: 81 x 41 inches


Condition: Excellent

Details — Click to read

31 color screenprint on heavy stock.

This large screen print was created by David Hockney for the Metropolitan Opera’s Parade, a triple-bill of short French pieces directed by John Dexter, for which Hockney designed sets and costumes. The pieces included Satie’s ”Parade,” Poulenc’s ”Les Mamelles de Tiresias” and Ravel’s ”L’Enfant et les Sortileges.” This work captures Hockney’s inventive poster-art sets in 31 colors, printed on heavy stock. The scale of the poster was occasioned by the size of the billboards at Lincoln Center; and the production of this magnificent 31 color screenprint was encouraged and undertaken by his publisher Petersburg Press.

At the top of the screen print, “Parade” is written in blue, white, and red, with “Metropolitan Opera 1982” below. At the base of this triple bill poster, the orchestra is depicted as strokes of yellow, and a yellow outline of the conductor raising his hands in the middle.

Erik Satie’s “Parade” originally debuted in Paris in 1912, written by Jean Cocteau, and with costumes by Pablo Picasso. Featuring a troupe of carnival performers, it was panned for its avant-garde use of sound effects, bizarre costumes, and surreal plot. In Hockney’s depiction, a red curtain provides a backdrop for performers with hats. One figure does a handstand on children’s blocks which spell out “Satie”. Striped ladders lean on either side of the stage.

Francis Poulenc’s “Les Mamelles de Tiresias (The Breasts of Tiresias)” is based on the eponymous play by Guillaume Apollinaire, following the antics of citizens in Zanzibar. Situated in the middle of this work, Poulenc’s name is spelled out in blocks, with a rocking horse perched atop. Hockney’s familiar soft, oval clouds move across the blue sky, with palm trees, a café, and a bar as the backdrop for several figures that stand on the street. On either side of the set can be seen razor wire stretched between posts, and the French flag planted in the fence.

Maurice Ravel’s ‘L’Infant et les Sortileges (The Child and the Spells)’ is the last ballet depicted on this poster. Following the story of a young boy, the ballet takes place in a garden, pictured here in jungle green. Large trees with bold, brick-red trunks spread over the top of the set, with figures in green and red at their base.

Catalogue reference: Brian Baggott, Hockney Posters, Harmony Books, New York 1987, no. 91 illustrated.

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The Artist

David Hockney

Born in Bradford England on the 9th July 1937 David Hockney was interested in art from a very early age, and was an admirer of Fragonard, Picasso and Matisse. The fifth of six children his parents encouraged his artistic experimentation. He went to the Bradford College of Art 1953-57. To fulfil his national service, he worked in hospitals as he was a conscientious objector to war. Then in 1959 he was accepted into the Royal College of Art, Graduate school in London.

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