David Hockney's pleading invite to first exhibition goes on display

His letter will go on display at the Hepworth Wakefield.

A pleading letter from a young David Hockney will go on display showing efforts to attract attention to his artwork.

The decades-old message was sent in 1960 by the then art student Hockney to the director of the Wakefied Art Gallery, Helen Kapp.

Hockney asks in the letter if the more senior artistic figure would like to view his work in Skipton, in what is believed to be his first show.

The letter from Hockney written on borrowed paper (Hepworth)

The casually-penned missive also mentions a pot cat the artist created.

Sadly for the young student he is turned down by Kapp, who even spells his name wrong in her response.

The letters will go on display at the Hepworth Wakefield as part of a new exhibition.

Hockney, who earned international fame for his work, wrote in 1960: “Enclosed is a catalogue to the exhibition which we thought you might be interested to see.”

He adds: “I don’t know if you remember me, but you once purchased a pot cat off me when I was in Bradford.”

Hockney adds that his ceramics mould broke, and he was unable to make another ornamental cat for Kapp’s brother, and apologises to the gallery director.

The reply from Kapp (Hepworth)

Hockney’s ingratiating letter did not immediately work, with Kapp explaining to “David Hackney Esq” that she does not own a car, and Skipton is too far from Wakefield for her to travel.

But she does add: “I would, however, very much like to see some of your pictures and perhaps when the exhibition is over and you have your pictures back in Bradford, before you return to London, I may be allowed to come and see them.”

The exhibition at the Desormais Art Gallery in Skipton is now believed to by Hockney’s first, and the artist apparently left unfinished works locked up in the building.

A new exhibition at the Hepworth explores the early work of the internationally renowned artist, and an influence in his career, painter Alan Davie.

Alan Davie & David Hockney: Early Works opens on October 19.

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