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Exhibition: David Hockney, the new painting lesson


REPORT - Beautiful reunion at the Granet Museum in Aix-en-Provence with the English painter. The Tate Britain lends its unique collection and reveals yet another facet of its work.

Special correspondent in Aix-en-Provence

Peroxidized hair, round black tortoiseshell glasses, unbuttoned white shirt and wide straps over the chic pants of a suit jacket, the young David Hockney seen by the photographer Richard Schmidt is the prototype of the English artist who hatched in the London of the 1960s, the equivalent of the New Wave with the current Kitchen Sink.

This working-class son, born in Bradford in West Yorkshire in 1937, has the forward look and seriousness of someone who wants to find his way.

Long royal blue cardigan streaked with soft green very Paul Smith, askew tie, silver hair and black sneakers, David Hockney, 86 years old on July 9, is the only character of

In the Studio, December 2017

, photographic drawing 7 meters long more complex than it seems.

The 300 photos taken in the 360° studio were brought together by computer and multiply perspectives and lines of flight.

The closer we get, the more the compass panics.

David Hockney is thinner there, hunched over by the years, but still strapping, emblem of this Northern England marked by the Vikings.

He has the same direct and determined gaze.

His compatriots have not yet seen at the Tate in London this panorama where all his great works are exhibited which question perspective, from the

Grand Canyon


Sumo Book

by Taschen, from the studio to the balcony painted in blue from Los Angeles to the multicolored hills. , green and mauve, unveiled at the Royal Academy in 2012. Because Hockney donated this gigantic piece (7 sheets of paper, i.e. 278 × 760 cm) to his museum in 2018, just before the exhibition which links the artist and the Tate Britain does not leave for Seoul, Shanghai, then returns to Europe in Brussels, Vienna.

And finally in Aix-en-Provence, where she closes, at the Granet Museum, this painting lesson like an enigma.

Subliminal message

Beyond time, the painter - who calls himself English and not British - thus signs his appetite for creation, fresh as youth.

This momentum led to a mastery of drawing reinvented on the iPad, as shown by “David Hockney.

A Year in Normandy” in 2021 at the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris and “Hockney-Matisse.

A Rediscovered Paradise” at the Matisse Museum last summer.

Like all great artists, each exhibition reveals him differently and enriches the portrait.

Masterful at the Tate Britain and the Center Pompidou in his retrospective, for his 80th birthday in 2017. Marginal, insular, caustic and tremendously gifted, in this more intimate approach, because it comes from the heart of the collection of the British museum towards which the artist was more than generous.

Read alsoIn Normandy, in the intimacy of David Hockney, the most expensive painter in the world

“The Tate owns over a hundred works by David Hockney, which form an essential part of its national collection of modern and contemporary art.

The museum is particularly fortunate to own some of his most famous paintings,

A Bigger Splash

, 1967, and

Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy,

1970-1971, which not only illustrate the painter's originality, but mark key moments in the history of British art of that time

," says Helen Little, curator of the Tate.

Unlike the Met and Beaubourg,

A Bigger Splash

, a 1967 icon which celebrates the Californian swimming pool period and implicitly enjoyment by the sole jet of water in the absence of any character, did not make the trip, this times.

"It's our

Monna Lisa

, the public comes to see it in London on purpose

," replies tactfully Helen Little, who brought many other nuggets:

Women With a Sewing Machine

, 1954, Hockney's oldest piece in the collection of the Tate, or

My Parents

, 1977, with a feigned naturalism, one of the painter's favorite paintings and, according to him, the most accomplished.

"He had painted his face in the mirror placed between his parents, before replacing it with two works in reference to the Italian Renaissance, a more subtle way of being present in his lineage and in his painting" 

, analyzes Bruno Ely, director of the Granet Museum, which brings a very detailed look at an already popular work.

The paintings, slightly offbeat in their perfection, have a subliminal message

Homosexuality, underlying in his work, is clear and clear here.

To express his identity in his California quest for a more liberal world, Hockney bridges tradition and modernity in

Man in Shower in Beverly Hills

, 1964 (acquired 1980).

“He picks up the four-hundred-year-old tradition of painting and bathers, drawing inspiration from a homoerotic revue he was then importing to London, transforming and transporting the models, often GIs and lower-class American men, into the glamorous world paint.

He is fascinated by modernist architecture and the exuberant use of water in California.

He goes out to paint the city.

He is one of the first to translate the life of Los Angeles historically and contemporary.

, explains Helen Little.

Francis Bacon

is his model, like Dubuffet

, adds Bruno Ely.

His work on space is fundamental.

Yes, Hockney asserts himself as a figurative painter, with the shower, the body, the details, but he wants to go further.

The body and the tiling are completely flat.

He paints the space with the green plant placed in the foreground and the purple carpet that goes diagonally.

He then adds, in a white space where he had first painted another character, a table and chairs, suspended in the void, as if placed in reserve.

The paintings, slightly offbeat in their perfection, have a subliminal message.


Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy

, 1970-1971, with its two characters painted against the light, his hieratic and pregnant wife - Celia who will remain Hockney's great female model - and her husband, a bisexual dandy and lover of the painter on the knees from which the white cat turns its back to the viewer.

"The large vertical in the center of the painting, the window that the cat looks at, the white lily of the Annunciation indicate the future break-up of the couple"

, explains Bruno Ely.

The history of art is not harmless.

“David Hockney.

Collection of the Tate”, until May 28 at the Granet Museum in Aix-en-Provence.


David Hockney Moving Focus

 , In Fine/Tate/Musée Granet, €39.

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Source: lefigaro

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