David Hockney: Paintings 2006-2009
PaceWildenstein is honored to present a two-venue exhibition at 32 East 57th Street and 534 West 25th Street on the occasion of David Hockney’s first exhibition of new paintings in New York in over 12 years. The show features recent landscape paintings of the artist’s native Yorkshire, including 14 new works that have never before been exhibited, as well as 14 which travel to the gallery from a major museum exhibition at the Kunsthalle Würth in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany. A catalogue with an essay by Lawrence Weschler, Director of the New York Institute of the Humanities at New York University, and the author of True to Life: Twenty-Five Years of Conversations with David Hockney (University of California Press, 2008), will accompany the exhibition. David Hockney: Paintings 2006-2009 will open at 32 East 57th Street on October 23 and at 534 West 25th Street on October 29, and will be on view through December 24, 2009. The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Thursday, October 29 from 6-8 p.m. at 534 West 25th Street.
The British artist David Hockney has produced some of the most vividly recognizable images of this century. His ambitious pursuits stretch across a vast range of media, from photographic collages to full-scale opera stagings and from fax drawings to an intensive art historical study of the optical devices of Old Masters. Now largely working in East Yorkshire, he has rediscovered the vivid landscape of his youth and has become engaged in what Weschler calls “the fiercest, most joyous, most sustained, and most prolific bout of painting of his entire career, one that shows no sign of abating.”
Hockney set up his easel en plein air for his first new oil painting of the countryside surrounding Bridlington in 2005. He began working on relatively small canvases, producing three to four a day, painting into the fall and the early winter; “It’s only having seen a tree’s inner structure, with its branches laid bare in winter,” Hockney explains, that one “learns to experience, and then to render, that tree’s subsequent summer fullness—and then vice versa.” Indeed, “[i]f famously seasonless Los Angeles had taught Hockney space and spaciousness,” Weschler writes, “the East Yorkshire countryside was now teaching him time, and with his dazzlingly colorful renderings, he in turn was making its passage central to the depiction of paysage. More to the point, though, it was as if, after over twenty years of myriad wanderings, he’d found a figurative (non-abstract) way clean past the monocular optical vise.” Hockney devised a method for painting large-scale canvases outdoors and the need to overcome wind, rain and snow, and logistics of viewing the scene as well as transportation of the canvases. He divided the full expanse of a painting among several canvases, and each morning transported a few of the canvases to the field, mounting one or more at a time onto easels. Returning to his studio at the end of the day, Hockney combined the parts to form the whole image, resulting in large-scale multi-canvas paintings such as Bigger Trees Nearer Warter, captured in the winter and summer of 2008, on view in the 25th Street gallery, and The Big Hawthorne (2008) at 57th Street, each composed of nine canvases and measuring 108 x 144".
Each year since his return to Yorkshire, Hockney anticipates the brief blooming of the Hawthorne blossoms—which lasts only three or four days—through late May and all of June; “[T]here are just a few weeks each spring and fall where everything starts happening very fast, and you have to work very fast if you’re going to see,” Hockney paraphrases Cezanne, “because everything is fast disappearing.” Once it begins, he is prepared. The artist uses his prime hours outdoors to capture the scene before him in charcoal, and then takes the drawings back to his studio to create the basis for new paintings, like those on view in this exhibition. “So much of seeing is memory, which is yet another aspect of the human reality of vision that ordinary photographs can’t even begin to capture,” the artist explains. The twenty-eight paintings featured also include Hockney’s felled trees and “totems,” narrating the once in a generation thinning of the forest and the lumber that it produces. “Suffolk had its Constable, and West Yorkshire its Turner,” Weschler writes, “But before Hockney, nobody had ever really bothered to look at East Yorkshire like this, with this passion and this savor. Or at any rate to portray it thus imbued.”
The exhibition follows David Hockney: Just Nature at the Kunsthalle Würth, Germany (April 27–September 27, 2009), which 100,000 viewers travelled to the remote village of Schwäbisch Hall to see. In 2008, the Arts Club of Chicago presented David Hockney: Looking at Woldgate Woods, which included two of the works featured in this exhibition. Hockney curated and provided the commentary for Hockney on Turner Watercolours, an exhibition of Turner’s watercolor paintings at the Tate Britain in 2007. The same year, his 15' x 40' Bigger Trees Near Warter, composed of fifty canvases, was unveiled at the Royal Academy of Art, London. Hockney has participated in nearly 400 solo exhibitions since 1963, and his work has been included in numerous important group exhibitions, including the Biennale de Paris (1961, 1963, 1985); Carnegie International, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh (1967, 1982); Documenta, Kassel (1967, 1977, 2005); Exposition Internationale de Graveure (1963, 1965, 1967); The John Moores Competition, Liverpool (1963, 1968); La Biennale di Venezia (1968, 1995); Sao Paulo Biennale (1967, 1975, 1989); and the Whitney Biennial (2004).
Born in Bradford, England, in 1937, David Hockney received the gold medal for his year at London’s Royal College of Art in 1962. The artist had his first one-man show in 1963 at the age of 26, and by 1970 the first of several major retrospectives was organized (David Hockney: Paintings, Prints and Drawings, 1960-1970 at Whitechapel Gallery, London, which traveled to Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, and Muzej Savremene Umetnosti, Belgrade). Other significant retrospectives include: David Hockney: Prints and Drawings, Travels with Pen, Pencil, and Ink, organized by International Exhibitions Foundation, Washington, D.C., which traveled to 13 museums including Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan; Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Minneapolis Institute of Arts; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City and Yale Center For British Art, New Haven (1978-80); Hockney Paints the Stage, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, which traveled to: Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Fort Worth Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Art; and Hayward Gallery, London (1983-85); David Hockney: A Retrospective, at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which traveled to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Tate Gallery, London (1988-89); David Hockney: A Drawing Retrospective, 1954–1994, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, which traveled to Royal Academy of Arts, London and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1995-96); David Hockney: Exciting Times are Ahead, Kunst-und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, which traveled as David Hockney: Malerei 1960–2000 to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humblebæk, Denmark (2001-2002), and most recently, David Hockney: Portraits, co-organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the National Portrait Gallery, London, which traveled to Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2006-07).
Since 1966, Hockney has created stage designs for productions at the Royal Court Theatre, London; Glyndebourne, England; The Metropolitan Opera, New York; Los Angeles Music Center Opera; Lyric Opera of Chicago; The San Francisco Opera; and the Royal Opera, London. The artist moved to Los Angeles in 1964, returned to London in 1968, and from 1973-75 lived in Paris. In 1976, he retuned to Los Angeles and began working extensively with photography, in addition to painting and other media.
Hockney first became acquainted with Bridlington around the age of fifteen, while working on a farm during the summers of 1952 and 1953. The artist found renewed inspiration in the East Yorkshire landscape in 1997 while visiting his friend Jonathan Silver, who was fighting a long battle against cancer. In recent years he has reconnected with his Yorkshire roots after half a lifetime in Los Angeles, where he still maintains his home and studio. The oil paintings that Hockney has produced since 2005 were influenced by his intensive studies in watercolor (for over a year in 2003-2004), and by his long exploration of photography, which came to a climax with the publication of Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters, in 2001. Hockney’s subsequent experimentation with optical aids used by artists long before the invention of chemical photography has made an important contribution to art historical discourse. Hockney has produced work in almost every media, from painting and drawing to photography and printmaking, working with such cutting-edge technology as fax machines, laser photocopiers, computers, and most recently, the iPhone.
Hockney has received a vast number of accolades throughout his career, including nine honorary degrees from institutions worldwide. In 1997, he was made a Companion of Honour, a recognition from the British and Commonwealth Order for his outstanding achievement in the arts. He was also included on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List the same year. Hockney was a Distinguished Honoree of the National Arts Association, Los Angeles, in 1991 and received the First Annual Award of Achievement from the Archives of American Art, Los Angeles, in 1993. He was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the American Associates of the Royal Academy Trust, New York in 1992 and was given a Foreign Honorary Membership to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1997. In 2003, Hockney was awarded the Lorenzo de Medici Lifetime Career Award of the Florence Biennale, Italy.
Hockney’s work can be found in numerous important public collections worldwide, including Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Louisiana Museum of Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; The Art Institute of Chicago; National Portrait Gallery, London; Tate Gallery, London; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Museum of Modern Art, Vienna; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C..
Additional information for David Hockney: Paintings 2006-2009 is available upon request by contacting Jennifer Benz Joy at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lauren Staub at email@example.com, or by calling 212.421.3292.