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David Hockney: A Rake’s Progress

This spring, the Museum is proud to partner with the Portland Opera and the David Hockney Foundation to present David Hockney: A Rake’s Progress. Hockney, one of the most significant artists of our generation, has long engaged with the paintings and engravings of 18th-century English artist William Hogarth. Hockney was particularly captivated by Hogarth’s series The Rake’s Progress, 1733, which chronicles the rise and fall of Tom Rakewell, the son and heir of a rich merchant, who squanders his money on luxurious living, prostitution, and gambling. After a trip to New York, Hockney produced his own interpretation of the story. Hockney’s A Rake’s Progress was published as a portfolio of 16 etchings in 1963 and is considered one of the high points of his early career.

In 1975, Hockney collaborated with director John Cox to create a new production of Igor Stravinsky’s opera based on Hogarth’s The Rake’s Progress. Hockney drew inspiration from the 18th-century master’s engravings, endowing the set designs and costumes with a linearity that speaks not only to the language of prints, but also to the modern angularity of Stravinsky’s score. The result is both playful and rigorous, a perfect blend of the aural and visual.

The exhibition is an exciting look into Hockney’s creative process. It will feature etchings, drawings, models, and watercolors that depict the 1975 opera’s set design from initial idea to final concept, offering a rare glimpse into working methods of one of England’s finest living artists.

The exhibition of this work is complemented by the Portland Opera’s production of The Rake’s Progress on June 11, 12, and 14, 2015, featuring Hockney’s celebrated scenic and costume designs.
Relevant research areas: Western Europe, Contemporary, Etching

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