David Hockney exhibition 'will change way people view the artist'

The biggest ever retrospective of the work of David Hockney will change the way people see the output of one of Britain’s greatest living artists, according to its curator.

The exhibition at the Tate Britain will feature more than 250 pieces of artwork to celebrate his achievement in painting, drawing, photography and video.

It will include new paintings of his home and garden in Los Angeles, which will be revealed to the public for the first time, works that have been in private collections and not on display for decades, as well as pieces from the artist’s own collection.

(Yui Mok/PA)

The chronological overview will trace his development from his first appearance on the public stage in 1961, through his works of the 1960s and 1970s to his recent shows at the Royal Academy and his experiments with drawing on an iPad and iPhone.

It will include examples of the artist’s use of parody and self-reflection in his Love paintings of 1960 and 1961, his portraits of friends, family and himself, as well as his famous images of Los Angeles swimming pools and his Yorkshire landscapes of the 2000s, as well as the work he created since he returned to California in 2013.

Also featured in the collection will be composite Polaroids from his own collection, of Billy and Audrey Wilder, his mother at Bolton Abbey and his own foot at the edge of the Grand Canyon, as well as digital videos of Woldgate Woods in Yorkshire through the four seasons.

(Yui Mok/PA)

Andrew Wilson, the curator of the exhibition, told the Press Association: “It’s one of the largest exhibitions we have ever done at Tate Britain.

“Hockney is a force of nature, as an artist he arouses great feelings and I think it is going to be very, very important for us to have opened the doors to such amazing work for people to see.”

The retrospective will feature a room dedicated to his celebrated series of double portraits, including the famous Mr And Mrs Clark And Percy, as well as the 1968 painting of novelist Christopher Isherwood with artist Don Bachardy, which has not been displayed for more than two decades.

(Yui Mok/PA)

Wilson said: “One of the things I find fascinating about Hockney is he is the most popular artist, making the most recognisable work, we all think we know these images, painting and pictures and know them really well but actually one of the excitements of making the exhibition is that painting has been in a private collection for years and actually seeing it is so staggeringly different from seeing a photograph of the painting reproduced in a book.

“That painting hasn’t been seen in public for 30 years and that chance to have those experiences is going to change how people understand David Hockney’s work.

“There is a very large number of works coming out of private collections, or that have been scattered in public collections and we are bringing them together. It’s a unique opportunity.

“It’s the first large retrospective in Britain David Hockney has had since 1988 and that is fairly staggering for an artist of his standing and popularity.”

(Yui Mok/PA)

Hockney, 79, who recently redesigned The Sun’s masthead for a one-off edition of the newspaper, using a painting app on a tablet to create a hand-drawn sun and its rays, said: “It has been a pleasure to revisit works I made decades ago, including some of my earliest paintings. Many of them seem like old friends to me now.

“We’re looking back over a lifetime with this exhibition, and I hope, like me, people will enjoy seeing how the roots of the new and recent work can be seen in developments over the years.”

Following the presentation in London, the exhibition will travel to the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, but Mr Wilson said it was crucial it will be shown in the UK first.

(Yui Mok/PA)

“The show has been originated here in London,” he said. “In 1988, the show came here but originated in Los Angeles when he was a Californian artist but now, especially after the period he spent in Yorkshire between 2006 and 2013, there is a renewed attachment, that is such a staggeringly important aspect of his work.”

David Hockney will be at the Tate Britain from February 9 to May 29.


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