Rocky Mountains and Tired Indians 1965

On Display Modern One

This was painted at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where the campus is on the edge of the Rocky Mountains. However Hockney's studio had no windows, so he painted this imaginary picture instead. It is inspired entirely by pictures in magazines and romantic ideas of the 'Wild West'. The nearest 'Indians' are in fact at least three hundred miles from Boulder. The chair was included for compositional purposes, and to explain its being there Hockney called the Indians 'tired'. The striped mountains in the background were a light-hearted response to contemporary striped, abstract paintings by American artists. They may also be influenced by pictures of rock layers from geographical magazines.

Glossary Open

Abstract art

Art in which there is no attempt to represent anything existing in the world, particularly used of the 20th century onwards. ‘Abstraction’ refers to the process of making images that may in part derive from the visible world but which are reduced to basic formal elements.


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.

Abstract art, Composition


  • Acc. No. GMA 1538
  • Medium Acrylic on canvas
  • Size 170.40 x 252.80 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1976