David Hockney — The Blue Guitar

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The Man With the Blue Guitar, a poem by Wallace Stevens, was first published in 1937. It is divided into thirty-three brief sections, or cantos. The poem has been discussed as taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the subject of Pablo Picasso’s 1903-04 painting The Old Guitarist, which Stevens may have viewed when it was exhibited at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1934. But Stevens insisted this influence was only peripheral. In a letter dated July 1, 1953, to Professor Renato Poggioli, who had recently translated his poem into Italian, Stevens wrote: “I had no particular painting of Picasso’s in mind and even though it might help to sell the book to have one of his paintings on the cover, I don’t think we ought to reproduce anything of Picasso’s”. Hockney did just that, and it is very lovely indeed!


The Blue Guitar. Etchings by David Hockney who was inspired by Wallace Stevens who was inspired by Pablo Picasso. London, Petersburg Press, 1977. Original boards with paste on well preserved and unclipped dustjacket. Interior clean and bright. 51 pp. Near fine / fine copy

First trade edition

David Hockney — The Blue Guitar