The Bowes Museum > Exhibitions > 2019 > Hockney and Hollywood

Hockney and Hollywood


13 July – 3 November 2019

We have welcomed a major photo montage by Britain's most famous living artist, David Hockney. The picture called Nude, 17th June 1984 was commissioned by film director Nicolas Roeg (best known for directing amongst others The Witches) for the movie Insignificance that starred his wife Theresa Russell as Marilyn Monroe. Accompanying this are original photographs taken by Roeg observing Hockney at work on the picture.

The Yorkshire born artist was commissioned by his friend the Hollywood film director Nicolas Roeg to create an extraordinary life sized nude photographic study of Theresa Russell for the movie “Insignificance”, which starred his then wife, Theresa Russell, as Marilyn Monroe.


It took Hockney four attempts with a Pentax camera to capture the images he wanted to create the stunning ‘Nude, 17th June 1984’. The collage shows both Theresa’s front and back as Hockney explores the use of lines and edges in his photography.  The actress’ pose, together with the pink satin sheets, her blond wig and licking of her lips is reminiscent of a centrefold pin up.

Nicolas Roeg, who’s best known for directing ‘Don’t Look Now’, ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ and ‘The Witches’, documented Hockney at work on the piece; photographing the artist as he prepared the scene, the assistants as they applied make up and Hockney taking the posed shots.   These photographs give a unique and intimate never before seen ‘behind the scenes’ look at Hockney that make up an integral part of the exhibition, as one artist observes another.