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"David Hockney: Grimmsí Fairy Tales"
2004-07-03 until 2004-10-10
Museum of Childhood
UK United Kingdom
An exhibition of beautiful illustrations by David Hockney of six of the most gruesome
fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm. David Hockney: Grimmsí Fairy Tales, a
National Touring Exhibition from the Hayward Gallery, is coming to the Museum of
Childhood this summer.
Hockney has given each fairy tale his own interpretation. Rather than illustrating the
stories literally, he has chosen vivid images to encapsulate a mood or detail. Some of
the tales are familiar, like Rapunzel and Rumpelstilzchen; others, such as Old
Rinkrank, Fundevogel and the Little Sea Hare are little known.
Fantasy dressing-up clothes and a large scale castle tower will help bring the stories
to life and special events throughout the school/summer holidays will have a magical
fairy tale theme.
The tales are drawn from centuries of folklore. As Hockney points out: "The stories
weren't written by the Brothers Grimm....they came across this woman called
Catherina Dorothea Viehmann, who told 20 stories to them in this simple language,
and they were so moved by them that they wrote them down word for word as she
The 39 etchings were drawn directly onto copper plates by Hockney between May and
November 1969. It was a decade in which etching featured strongly for Hockney. As
well as Grimmsí Fairy Tales, he made two other important series: A Rake's Progress
1961-3 and Illustrations for Thirteen Poems for CP Cavafy 1966.
Reflecting the historical aspect of the folk-tales, Hockney has based some of the
etchings on images by Old Masters: the head of an old cook in Fundevogel is based
on a Leonardo da Vinci; the figures in Rapunzel are inspired by Breughel, Hieronymus
Bosch and Uccello; and a Carpaccio painting is the source for an illustration in the
story of The Boy who left home to learn Fear.
Born in Bradford in 1937, Hockney is one of the most popular British artists today.
Major exhibitions of his work have been held all over the world. He has lived in
California since the early 1970s.