A David Hockney Moment

A David Hockney Moment

The painter David Hockney once remarked: “What an artist is trying to do for people is bring them closer to something, because of course art is about sharing: You wouldn’t be an artist unless you wanted to share an experience, a thought.”

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And Hockney will soon be sharing a great deal of his important new work: This fall, London will enjoy a major “Hockney Moment” with a show of significant new landscapes, a survey of half a century of portraits (including new work) and a selling show of (iconic) works on paper.

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I have a suspicion Hockney’s moment will be a revelation.

First up is Annely Juda Fine Art’s exhibition “David Hockney: A Year in Yorkshire: New Paintings,” which runs from Sept. 15 until Oct. 28. It has been almost 10 years since his last exhibition at this gallery.

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Judging from the preview images, this is going to be a very exciting show indeed and a major landmark in Hockney’s career: 25 new paintings—of a universe very different from his California pools—were executed over the course of a year in Hockney’s natal county of Yorkshire.

These works were all painted outside and span the four seasons: from the scorched landscape of summer to autumn mists to frozen winter scenes to the blooming of spring. The exhibition includes two magical six-part canvases almost 2-by-4 meters in size.

These are powerful, elegiac paintings, and in their celebration of a uniquely English landscape, they return Hockney to the pantheon of “English” painters after many years in self-imposed exile, first in Paris (remember his wonderful evocations of the Palais Royale at dusk?) and then capturing the unique hedonism of sunny California.

In these new Yorkshire paintings, rain, cloudy skies and landscape—which are like rich tumbles of jewels—are painted in a seemingly spontaneous way.

Dare I say they come from the heart as well as the hand? I think so and I am really looking forward to seeing the whole exhibition, which will be accompanied by a hardcover catalog with 50 photographs of Hockney preparing and painting the works en plein air and in his Yorkshire studio.

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The National Portrait Gallery, from Oct. 12 through Jan. 21, will be showing the most comprehensive survey of Hockney’s portraits ever mounted.

Over l50 paintings, drawings, prints, sketchbooks and photocollages will reveal five decades of portraits of some of the most interesting denizens of the latter half of the 20th century. Where else will you be able to see in one room portraits of Andy Warhol, Man Ray, W.H. Auden and the much-loved and iconic Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy?

The exhibition will also show new work, marking Hockney’s return to large-scale painted portraits, in which he reconsiders the conversation piece and the heroic, single-standing figure—this time, as with his Yorkshire landscapes, painted directly from life.

And there’s innovation here too: from the Cubist-influenced photographic collages of the 1980s to his recent camera lucida drawings.

The catalogue will become a collector’s item featuring over 300 illustrations and essays by Edmund White, Mark Glazebrook and Marco Livingstone to help us get to the heart of the matter.

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Coinciding with the above exhibitions, which offer much in the way of new work, comes a show of Hockney’s familiar, well-loved and most-iconic images, which have delighted a vast public in the decades since they were originally made.

At the Andipa Gallery (which specializes in Modern and Contemporary works of art on paper) from Sept. 28, about 50 drawings, lithographs and limited-edition signed prints will be on sale, ranging from £1,500 to £60,000. The show will include a major “Bigger Splash” drawing and the paper-pulp Swimming Pool series will also be on view.