We Two Boys Together Clinging

1961

Hockney, David
This painting was completed towards the end of Hockney's second year at the Royal College of Art at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in England. The painting derives its imagery from a poem of the same title by the nineteenth-century American writer, Walt Whitman: two lines of the poem have been scribbled on the right-hand side to offer a commentary on the men's activities. The painting also references a newspaper clipping detailing a climbing accident ('Two Boys Cling to Cliff all Night'), which Hockney interpreted as an allusion to his idol, Cliff Richard. The two protagonists in this painting are seen exchanging a passionate embrace and kiss in front of a lavatory wall covered in grafitti. The use of an untutored or child-like style was suggested to Hockney by the work of the French artist Jean Dubuffet. Like the graffiti, this style gives the painting a crudity and vigour but also shrouds the identity of the artist in mock-anonymity. Susan May and Paul Melia
  • Artwork Details: 121.9 x 152.4cm
  • Edition:
  • Material description: oil on board
  • Credit line: © David Hockney
  • Theme: Figurative
  • Medium: Painting
  • Accession number: ACC5/1961

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The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With nearly 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyondThis website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.