'Peter Getting out of Nick's Pool', David Hockney, 1966

Naked man getting out of a pool

© David Hockney/Collection: Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool

Acrylic paint on canvas

This painting reflects the impact of Hockney’s move in  1964 to California, with its sunny climate, relaxed lifestyle  and vibrant colours. The pool, in Hollywood, belonged to  Los Angeles gallery owner Nicholas Wilder. The figure is  Hockney’s new lover and muse, Peter Schlesinger.

Hockney based the painting partly on a Polaroid  photograph of Peter leaning against an MG sports car.  The painting’s shape echoes the format of a photograph.  A border of un-primed canvas was left ‘to make the picture  look more like a painting’. Hockney wanted to emphasise the  process of picture-making and expose the trickery involved. 

To depict the reflection of light on the window and in the  water he follows the conventions of comics and  advertisements, using parallel or rope-like wriggly lines  over strong, flat colours. Masking tape was used to create  the straight lines in the scene.

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Photo credit: Richard Schmidt