Hallelujah God is Love, Jesus Saves, circa 1961

Hallelujah God is Love, Jesus Saves, circa 1961

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by DAVID HOCKNEY

Etching with aquatint, on handmade J Whatman laid paper
with a partial Fleur de Lys watermark
An unrecorded proof for A Rake’s Progress portfolio
One of only two known impressions
Printed by the artist
Plate: 14.7 x 19.2 cm (5.8 x 7.6 in)
Sheet: 21.5 x 28.0 cm (8.5 x 11.0 in)

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A very rare etching that was never editioned or published. According to the artist’s studio no more than two impressions exist.

This appears to be the earliest known impression pulled from this plate; a second later impression with the shadow of the singer further etched and the aquatint ground reworked is also known.

Hallelujah God is Love, Jesus Saves is an unrecorded proof presumably for a plate not included in A Rake’s Progress [MCA Tokyo 12-27], a groundbreaking set of sixteen etchings inspired by Hockney's first trip to New York in July 1961.

Modelled on the narrative structure of William Hogarth’s eight engravings published under the same collective title, Hockney intended to create twenty-four plates but later reduced the total to sixteen retaining the number from one to eight and most of the original titles. The artist’s introductory statement to the portfolio states that altogether the artist made thirty-five plates of which nineteen were abandoned.

Compositionally this proof impression relates to the published etching The Gospel Singing (Good People) Madison Square Garden-Plate 2a [MCA Tokyo 15] that depicts the American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson whom Hockney heard for the first time in Madison Square Gardens. He also met there the three men on whose ties the words of the inscription God is Love were separately written.

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