David Hockney’s photo-collage represents the occasion in 1983 when he was entertained at the British Embassy in Tokyo by the then Ambassador, Sir Hugh Cortazzi. Hockney presented this work to the Government Art Collection in 1990, for permanent display at the Embassy.
Lady Cortazzi is pictured on the left of the collage and Sir Hugh is shown three times, the third from the right. Hockney emphasised his own presence in his photo-collages, sometimes by including a snapshot of his feet at the bottom of the collage. In this image he has represented himself by the place setting bearing his name on the table, alongside two rolls of film for his camera.
‘Luncheon at the British Embassy, Tokyo, February 1983’ was one of a series of photo-collages which Hockney made in the 1980s, which he called ‘Joiners’. The photographs were taken with a small Pentax or Nikon camera, processed and printed at the local photographic printers and then pieced together and glued into position.
David Hockney is often described as ‘Britain’s most famous living artist’. Born in Bradford, he studied at the city’s school of art in the 1950s before attending the Royal College of Art in London (1959–62). There his fellow student, R. B. Kitaj, encouraged him to abandon abstraction, after which his work reflected the personal events of his own life, including a frank approach to his sexuality.
Hockney visited New York in 1961 and eventually moved to Los Angeles in 1963. His first solo exhibition took place that year; followed in 1970 by his first retrospective at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. 1988 saw the opening of a major retrospective of his work in Los Angeles that toured to New York and London.
'A Bigger Picture', an exhibition featuring over 150 of Hockney’s landscapes was held at the Royal Academy in 2012. He produced many of his drawings on an iPad and printed on paper. In 2014, 'David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition' was shown at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. A major retrospective exhibition of his work opened at Tate Britain in 2017, before touring to Paris and New York.
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