Sims Reed Rare Books×

Five Fax Drawings by David Hockney

Hockney, David

Malibu. 1989
Five ephemeral fax drawings by David Hockney.

The drawings, drawn for and sent to Leo Lerman, the socialite, writer and editor associated with Condé Nast publications, all read 'Fax for Leo' (typed) on a tableau surrounded by different words. The loose fax drawing includes the inscription 'Love from David.'

David Hockney has always employed new technologies in his work, his iPad drawings are a recent example of this. Throughout the late 80s and early 90s, Hockney was excited not only by the graphic possibilities offered by the fax machine but also its ability to communicate instantaneously with friends across the world. He joked that the fax was 'the telephone of the deaf', and often expressed his enjoyment in the ephemeral nature of these drawings which were made to be given away.

Regarding the fax, he stated 'People said it was just a bad printing machine. But I think there is no such thing as a bad printing machine. It either prints or it doesn't. Most people were asking it to reproduce things it has difficulty with.' In the drawings offered here, Hockney makes a wry comment on print and reproduction with message-boards that state 'Special,' 'Personal,' and 'Important.'

The cover letter from Patrick Woodcock, the much admired GP who was popular in artistic and literary circles, begins 'Dearest Leo / David Hockney has just made the above on his fax. I am told / that Beatrice Monte will see you in a day or two so I am sending my best love / to you and Gray ... '. Gray Foy was Lerman's companion of 47 years, and the two led a glamourous and highly sociable life together in Manhattan.

There is some discolouration to the edges of the thermal paper, as can be expected.
6 pages. 6 sheets of thermal-sensitive paper, 5 of which are stapled together (each 215 x 280 mm), 1 loose (215 x 355 mm). Five fax drawings by David Hockney, each headed 'March 09 '89 ... DH at the Beach'; one page with handwritten note to Leo [Lerman] from Patrick Woodcock, headed with Hockney's Malibu address which is written in Hockney's own hand.