Director Jack Hazan and editor David Mingay (Rude Boy) had access to David Hockney and his circle from 1970 to 1973, a critical period for the internationally-acclaimed artist following the break-up of his relationship with Peter Schlesinger. This semi-fictionalized documentary biopic is named after Hockney’s pop-art painting ‘A Bigger Splash’.
As much an intimate study of love gone wrong as a portrait of an artist at work, A Bigger Splash chronicles the emotional ripples that separation casts on their coterie.
With appearances by such art scene icons (and subjects of Hockney’s work) as Celia Birtwell, Ossie Clark, Henry Geldzahler and Patrick Proctor, this ground-breaking film is presented here in a newly remastered version.
The painting on the cover is Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures). The first composition for the painting started in 1971 but was destroyed by Hockney as documented in the film. In April 1972 however Hockney decided to return to the concept ahead of a planned exhibition due to open just four weeks later.
In November 2018 the painting turned Hockney into the most expensive living artist, after it was sold at Christie’s for $90.3 million – nearly doubling the previous record-holder (Jeff Koons for his 12-foot-tall sculpture Balloon Dog). Koons regained the title in May 2019 however with the stainless steel sculpture ‘Rabbit’ which sold for $91.1 million.
The National Portrait Gallery currently has an exhibition of Hockney’s work titled David Hockney: Drawing from Life devoted to Hockney’s drawings from the 1950s to the present, depicting himself and those close to him. The exhibition runs until 18 June 2020.
Extras: Interview with director Jack Hazan