Musings of Navigating The Finite remainder of life from Porchville, with the hope of a glimpse of The Infinite

Sunday, November 18, 2018

A Blue Collar Interpretation of a 90 Million Dollar Painting

Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures)
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I have always found David Hockney’s art visually interesting.  Eye catching.   Striking.  He has a paradoxical simplicity that seems to obscure a deeper complexity.  To me, more of an admirer of realism, Hockney’s paintings are borderline cartoony, yet with an implication of something deeper.  They seem to ask a question, but not answer it.  I always find myself wondering what am I missing in this painting.  But that has not been the case with his painting Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), which just was auctioned at Christie’s for $90.3 million on November 15, 2018. 

Wow!  Ninety million for a painting of the prelude of a rich 70’s Hollywood executive about to counsel his teenage son about off roading in the Mercedes and leaving a roach in the ashtray.  “And furthermore, young man, I did not appreciate the beer cans on the floor, the melted Sugar Daddy stuck to the console, and the soiled condom under the seat.  You are grounded for a week.…”

This is why blue collar slobs are never art critics.  The real meaning behind this painting involves love and loss that totally evades me even after reading two articles about the painting:

Nope, sorry, I just see a teenager about to get his ass chewed.  Maybe I should stick to Normal Rockwell.  

I do have a favorite Hockney,  Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy. 

Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy
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I like this this painting.  It reminds me of when I was young, not that I was ever as seemingly wealthy as Mr. and Mrs. Clark, but I can identify with the time period.  I like the interplay of light from the window.  The notes on this painting tell us that we are in the Clark’s bedroom.  They also tell us that both Mr. and Mrs. Clark are looking at the viewer of the painting.   Does that put me in the Clark’s marital bed, perhaps with their house sitter?   They don’t look very happy with we viewers.  If indeed, we are nothing more than just viewer in a gallery, they seem to be saying “Do you mind!  We are trying to have a conversation here.  Move along to the next painting.”

The last piece of Hockney’s art that I would like to mention  is Pearblossom  Highway #2. 

Pearblossom Highway #2
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This is not a painting but a collage of hundreds of chunks of photographs that Hockney took in Antelope Valley, California.   I spent two and half years in the Air Force near here and Hockney captured the essence of the Mojave although for me in a somewhat irritating fashion.  Its a weird piece.  It almost shimmers mirage like.  I find myself thinking, this would be a lot better if it stopped jiggling.  Again, blue collar slobs should never be art critics.   


  1. I am quite taken with the collage.

    1. The collage is neat. Hocking criticized photography as being a static view of a cyclops or something to that effect. Yet by taking many photos and mixing them together he was able to almost create a painting like interpretation. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Olga.