A Bigger Splash depicts a swimming pool beside a modern house, disturbed by a large splash of water created by an unseen figure who has apparently just jumped in from a diving board. It was painted in California between April and June 1967, when David Hockney was teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, United States. Jack Hazan‘s 1974 film A Bigger Splash, a fictionalized biopic concentrating on the breakup of Hockney’s relationship with Peter Schlesinger, was named after the painting.
Hockney’s composition is based on a photograph of a swimming pool in a book and an earlier drawing by Hockney of Californian buildings. It was created with meticulous care, simplified, but enlarging his earlier paintings entitled A Little Splash (1966) and The Splash (1966). Both are held in private collections; the latter was sold at Sotheby’s for £2.6 million in 2006.
The Marquess of Dufferin and Ava bought the finished work from John Kasmin‘s gallery in 1968, and sold it to the Tate in 1981.
In a March 2009 interview for the Tate, to the question “Who jumped into the pool?” Hockney answers : “I don’t know actually. It was done from a photograph of a splash. That I haven’t taken, but that’s what it’s commenting on. The stillness of an image. (…) Most of the painting was spent on the splash and the splash lasts two seconds and the building is permanent there. That’s what it’s about actually. You have to look in at the details.”
To watch the Jack Hazan’s A Bigger Splash movie trailer, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style’s Facebook page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2sEkXKxQs8