We Two Boys Together Clinging

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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