glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
social sciences
special features
about glbtq


   member name
   Forgot Your Password?  
Not a Member Yet?  

  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy






Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

European Art: Twentieth Century  
page: 1  2  3  4  

David Hockney

Another openly gay British artist, David Hockney (b. 1937) sometimes treats the male form in a funky, even whimsical manner. Hockney developed a distinct style during his studies at the Royal College of Art in London in the late 1950s. Representational but deliberately naïve, his style was influenced by both abstract art and children's drawings.

Hockney has deemed a work that dates from this early period, We Two Boys Together Clinging (1961), propaganda for homosexuality. In the painting, two scribbled, simplistic, human forms embrace and kiss one another. Alluding to the poem by Walt Whitman, the artist incorporated the words "we two boys together clinging" into the composition.

Hockney moved to Los Angeles in 1964, perhaps in part drawn by California's more relaxed attitude toward homosexuality. In Los Angeles, blue skies, swimming pools, and images of tanned young men became the most common themes of his increasingly naturalistic work. The voyeuristic Man Taking Shower in Beverly Hills (1964), for example, features a nude male seen from the side bending over in the shower.

Rotimi Fani-Kayode

Toward the end of the twentieth century, many artists working in Europe reflected the increasing internationalization of the art world. For example, the Nigerian-born photographer Rotimi Fani-Kayode (1955-1989) moved to London during his adolescence. His work is at once African and European.

One of Fani-Kayode's goals was to use art to undermine the Western world's misperception and misrepresentation of black Africans. His photographs of nude or semi-nude black males frequently blend African and Western iconography with sexual, sometimes homoerotic, themes. They present an alternate reality, transporting the viewer into unfamiliar worlds that encourage a reconsideration of commonly held ideas and assumptions about racial and sexual identity.

The black and white photograph entitled White Bouquet (1987) is a reinterpretation of Edouard Manet's famous painting Olympia (1863). It depicts a white man presenting a bouquet of flowers to a black male lounging on a chaise. Both nude figures turn their backs to the viewer. In Manet's work, a clothed black female servant gives flowers to a nude white female prostitute, and both women face the viewer.

White Bouquet's gender and racial reversal is echoed in its compositional inversion; even the presenter of the flowers is on the opposite side than that in Olympia. This undoing of the familiar results in an ambiguous image left open to many complex interpretations.


Many European artists explored gender-related and homosexual themes during the twentieth century. The breadth of this output is immense and continues to influence artists working today. The figures mentioned above were chosen not only because of their distinctive achievements, but also because their interests are both representative and diverse.

Joyce M. Youmans

  <previous page   page: 1  2  3  4    

Contact Us
Join the Discussion
Related Entries
More Entries by this contributor
A Bibliography on this Topic

Citation Information
More Entries about The Arts

   Related Entries
arts >> Overview:  Patronage II: The Western World since 1900

Patronage--the sponsorship of artists and the commissioning of works from them--has remained a significant factor in the creation of queer visual culture in the modern era.

arts >> Overview:  Surrealism

An artistic movement that grew out of Dadaism and flourished in Europe shortly after World War I, Surrealism embraced the idea that art was an expression of the subconscious.

arts >> Adrian-Nilsson, Gösta (GAN)

Regarding his sexuality as a fundamental component of his creativity, Swedish painter Gosta Adrian-Nilsson, known as GAN, fostered the development of modernist art in his native country.

arts >> Bacon, Francis

Widely recognized as Britain's most important twentieth-century painter, Francis Bacon creates beautifully composed works featuring violent subject matter that at once repels and attracts.

arts >> Burra, Edward

Edward Burra, a British illustrator and stage designer, depicted the possibility of gay sexual encounters in his drawings and watercolors of the urban underworld.

arts >> Cahun, Claude

Photographer, photo collagist, writer, and translator Claude Cahun is known today primarily for creating images, including self-portraits, that play with concepts of gender.

arts >> Dietrich, Marlene

Actress and cabaret performer Marlene Dietrich scandalized society almost as much by wearing trousers in public as by her numerous love affairs with both men and women.

arts >> Duchamp, Marcel

One of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, Marcel Duchamp desired to break down all linguistic, sexual, and social restraints.

arts >> Enckell, Magnus Knut

Painter Magnus Knut Enckell, whose works exhibit strong homoerotic overtones, was one of the leading figures in the art circles of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Finland.

arts >> Fani-Kayode, Rotimi

One of the most important black photographers of the late twentieth century, Rotimi Fani-Kayode explores important themes of racial and sexual identity.

arts >> Fini, Léonor

The work of bisexual artist Léonor Fini, which emphasizes female power and autonomy, may be seen as a response to the patriarchal assumptions of Surrealism.

arts >> Höch, Hannah

Best known for her photomontages critiquing bourgeois culture, German bisexual artist Hannah Höch embraced a number of artistic movements and styles during her long career.

arts >> Hockney, David

One of the liveliest and most versatile visual artists of his generation, David Hockney not only has helped break down resistance to the erotic gaze directed at the male body but also has presented gay male couples in domestic--rather than sensational or sexual--images.

arts >> Jansson, Tove

Best known for her series of children's books about the Moomin family of trolls, Tove Jansson, considered a national treasure in Finland, also wrote fiction for adults and was an accomplished artist and illustrator.

arts >> Jansson, Eugène Frederik

Eugène Jansson, sometimes described as Sweden's first gay artist, has only recently begun to receive the international attention that his accomplishments merit.

arts >> Leonard, Michael

Britain's leading photorealist painter, Michael Leonard is accomplished in a number of genres, but his dominant subject is the nude male.

arts >> Sekula, Sonja

Swiss-born artist Sonja Sekula created small-scale abstract images with profound emotional power.

arts >> Tuke, Henry Scott

British artist Henry Scott Tuke created works that celebrate the beauty of male youth, as well as the artist's lifelong love of the sea, swimming, and sailing.

arts >> Vaughan, Keith

A painter of figures and landscapes in oils and gouache, British artist Keith Vaughan specialized in the depiction of male nudes in landscape.

arts >> Walker, Ethel

British painter Dame Ethel Walker is best known for her portraits of women and for a series of works based on generic mythological themes.

literature >> Whitman, Walt

Celebrating an ideal of manly love in both its spiritual and physical aspects, Walt Whitman has exerted a profound and enduring influence on gay literature.


Bailey, David A. "Photographic Animateur: The Photographs of Rotimi Fani-Kayode in Relation to Black Photographic Practices." Third Text 13 (Winter 1997): 57-62.

Byrd, Julie. Excerpt from the paper "Les Femmes Surrealistes." Interdisciplinary Cross-Cultural Conference, University of Illinois. March 3, 1995.

Cooper, Emmanuel. The Life and Work of Henry Scott Tuke, 1858-1929. London: GMP Publishers, 1987.

"David Hockney: Artist." h2g2.

Earp, T. W., et al. Ethel Walker, Frances Hodgkins, and Gwen John: A Memorial Exhibition. London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1952.

Fani-Kayode, Rotimi. "Traces of Ecstasy." Ten-8 2.3 (Spring 1992): 64-71.

Fani-Kayode, Rotimi, et al. "Rotimi Fani-Kayode and A. Hirst." Revue Noire 3 (December 1991): 30-50.

Frey, Raman. Léonor Fini. Weinstein Gallery. (15 April 2002).

Graham, Lanier. "Duchamp and Androgyny: The Concept and its Context." tout-fait: The Marcel Duchamp Studies Online Journal 2.4 (January 2002):

Hall, Charles. "Rotimi Fani-Kayode." Arts Review 43.1 (January 1991): 42.

Lavin, Maud. Cut with the Kitchen Knife: The Weimar Photomontages of Hannah Höch. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1993.

Mercer, Kobena. "Mortal Coil: Eros and Diaspora in the Photographs of Rotimi Fani-Kayode." Overexposed: Essays on Contemporary Photography. Carol Squiers, ed. New York: The New Press, 1999. 183-210.

Oguibe, Olu. "Finding a Place: Nigerian Artists in the Contemporary Art World." Art Journal 58.2 (Summer 1999): 30-41.

"Outspoken: David Hockney." OutUK: The UK Gay Men's Guide

Pearce, Brian Louis. Dame Ethel Walker: An Essay in Reassessment. Exeter, Devon, England: Stride Publications, 1997.

Saville, Julia. "The Romance of Boys Bathing: Poetic Precedents and Respondents to the Paintings of Henry Scott Tuke." Victorian Sexual Dissidence. Richard Dellamora, ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1999. 253-277.

Stewart, Angus. "About Keith Vaughan."

Talley, M. Kirby, Jr. "Henry Scott Tuke: August Blue." Art News 93.10 (December 1994): 103-104.


    Citation Information
    Author: Youmans, Joyce M.  
    Entry Title: European Art: Twentieth Century  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated November 14, 2005  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  


This Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc. is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.