Living with Art Series – Bedroom Vignette – Artwork by Al Held, David Hockney & Josh Smith:

Al Held, David Hockney, and Josh Smith; that’s a lot of men in one bedroom; but who’s complaining? Seriously, what a great combination of artwork in this room!  The largest piece of the three is the black and white India ink on paper by Al Held.

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Held was an American Abstract expressionist painter. He was well known for his large scale Hard-edge paintings of colorful simple abstract geometric forms. But in 1967, Held became tired of the reductive geometric quality and flatness of his work, feeling that he had reached the full potential of his exploration of this genre.   He switched to the use of black and white images to incorporate space and volume into his canvases trying to challenge perspective and “spatial conundrums.” “E. Series No. 2” from 1968 is one of those works produced during this period. The work above Held’s is David Hockney’s “Félicité Sleeping, with Parrot: Illustration for A Simple Heart of Gustave Flaubert”. (Off subject anecdote; Gustave Flaubert was a French writer, for those of you who may be wondering)

Hockney’s piece is an etching with aquatint completed in 1974. David Hockney is an incredibly versatile artist, and has produced work in almost every medium—creating full-scale opera set designs, prints, drawings, paintings, etchings and what he calls “joiners” which are photo collages. Multiple snapshots taken from different angles of the same subject, then joined together as a collage to represent the subject in a manner similar to cubism. I particularly like that Hockney used simple primary and secondary colors to portray the parrot and combined that with the gradated black lines of Félicité. Who is the main subject; the colorful parrot or the detailed black and white portrait?

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The third piece in this bedroom is by American artist, Josh Smith.

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Another versatile artist, his work includes painting, sculpture, collage, printmaking, and ceramics. Smith is known for using his name in his paintings, replicating and repeating it within each piece and within a collection to bring attention to the systematic processes of creating the art and to the participation of the viewing audience. The strength of all three of these pieces, when used together, informs the design of the room that contains them.

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The simple black, grey, and white Egyptian cotton custom bedding repeats the black and white imagery of the art and allows the art to be the star of the room. I love the vintage 1930’s Moroccan Azilal rug with its black, white, and bright yellow geometric shapes. The mid-century bright yellow table lamp is a perfect match to the rug and brings in the yellow used in Hockney’s parrot.   Keeping with the mid-century style, I added the contemporary matchstick style chandelier and black ceruse quarter sawn Oak nightstands to complete the room.

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