At Large  April 23, 2019  Chandra Noyes

Will 2019 be David Hockney's Best Year Yet?

© David Hockney, Jean-Pierre Gonçalves de Lima

David Hockney painting May Blossom on the Roman Road, 2009

2018 was a stellar year for David Hockney, and 2019 is looking to be just as monumental for the 81-year-old British artist. Just named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, Hockney is having a late-career second wind. Long considered a pioneer of Pop art, Hockney has reemerged in the past few years as a vital and relevant contemporary artist, not content to be defined only by his early work.

© David Hockney, Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt

David Hockney, More Felled Trees on Woldgate, 2008, Oil on 2 canvases (60 x 48" each), 60 x 96'' overall

In a recently opened exhibition, the Van Gogh Museum is favorably comparing Hockney to the Post-Impressionist master himself. On view through May 26 in Amsterdam, Hockney - Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature, compares the work of these two artists who were both so intrigued by the landscape. Hockney asks, “You can’t be bored of nature, can you?” Through his paintings, one can easily see how joyous and intriguing Hockney finds the natural landscape to be. Largely known for his depictions of the sparkling pools of Southern California, for this recent body of works, Hockney has turned to the fields and forests of Yorkshire. In canvases as wide as eight feet, he depicts the vibrant and changing colors, shapes, and patterns of the natural environment with a gusto that is evocative of Van Gogh.

In his essay for Time Magazine, the Van Gogh Museum’s head of exhibitions, Edwin Becker describes his enduring influence: “Hockney tirelessly seeks fresh perspectives, while staying true to his love of daring colors, striking compositions and original series, often with a sense of humor. ... An artist alive with energy, David Hockney is sure to continue to find and develop new ways of expression. His art encourages us to take a joyful and panoramic perspective of the world.”

© David Hockney, Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt, Centre Pompidou, Paris. Musée national d’art moderne – Centre de création industrielle

David Hockney, The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven), Oil on 32 canvases (36 x 48" each), 144 x 384" overall

In 2018, Hockney's perspective was a popular one. His retrospective at the Metropolitan Musem of Art (November 17, 2017 – February 25, 2018) was a success with critics and visitors. Soon after that, he opened an exhibition of 18 new paintings at Pace Gallery. In a November auction at Christie's, Hockney’s 1972 Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) sold for $90,312,500, making it the most expensive painting ever sold by a living artist.

So far, 2019 has been looking up Hockney, too. In addition to the Time’s 100 accolade and exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum, the first retrospective of his work in Korea just debuted at the Seoul Museum of Art. The exhibition was co-curated with the Tate, and consists largely of works loaned from their collection.

Sharply dressed in wool caps and colorful glasses, Hockney is a striking and charming character, who seems to be gaining new fans the world over. Often with a cigarette in hand, he happily proclaims his continued love of painting, and of using his iPad and iPhone to create new works. Still a prolific painter, David Hockney is as full of talent and surprises as ever and shows no signs of slowing down in 2019.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra Noyes is Managing Editor for Art & Object.

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