A Rake’s Progress was made following David Hockney’s first trip to New York in 1961, a visit that marked a transformation in Hockney’s personal and professional life. Hockney’s prints revisit themes in English artist William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress, an eighteen-century moral tale presented in a series of 8 engravings.
A Rake’s Progress was Hockney’s first major group of etchings. Since then he has created more than 500 prints. Accomplished in drawing, Hockney developed a natural talent for depiction in line on etching plates. This series of 16 skillfully executed etching and aquatint prints draw on his experience as a visitor to New York in their narrative, featuring a semi-autobiographical character.