Hockney meets Van Gogh
The major exhibition ‘Hockney – Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature’ demonstrates the unmistakable influence that Vincent van Gogh had on the work of David Hockney (1937). On view from 1 March to 26 May 2019.
Visitors learn about both artists’ fascination with nature, their use of bright colours and their experimentation with perspective. Hockney’s monumental Yorkshire landscapes play a central role.
The exhibition Hockney – Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature features some 120 works, including highlights such as the imposing The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire (2011) from the Centre Pompidou collection, Hockney’s intimate sketchbooks and his iPad drawings. Photographer Rineke Dijkstra created a portrait of the artist, who is now 81 years old, especially for this exhibition.
Axel Rüger (Director of the Van Gogh Museum): ‘Hockney is one of the most inspirational artists of our time. This is the first ever exhibition to explore how Van Gogh influenced his work. It is an absolute honour to have the opportunity to organise an exhibition such as this’.
From the late 1990s onwards, Hockney started to return from Los Angeles to his native region: the Yorkshire Wolds in Great Britain, where he painted the characteristic countryside. These paintings, the so-called Yorkshire landscapes, reveal thorough observations of the changing four seasons, and how light, space and nature are constantly in flux.
Love of nature
These often imposing landscapes offer a vivid insight into Hockney’s love of nature, and show a clear link with Van Gogh’s landscapes, such as The Harvest (1888), Field with Irises near Arles (1888) and The Garden of Saint Paul’s Hospital (‘Leaf-Fall’) (1889). The stylised vertical lines of the tree trunks in the latter work by Van Gogh are analogous to the repetitive lines in Hockney’s The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire (2011).
Rüger: ‘Out of pop art, Hockney evolved into a painter of colourful landscapes, in which the influence of Van Gogh is evident. Hockey is an artist who always successfully captures the reality of nature and the people around him, as was Van Gogh. Both artists show how nature appears to them’.
It was in the Yorkshire period that Hockney began experimenting with his iPad, using the device to create scintillating landscapes. Twenty of these iPad drawings will be displayed in the large format in the exhibition, which also focuses on Hockney’s sketchbooks: individual pages will be on display, which bears an unmistakable resemblance to Van Gogh’s drawing style. The exhibition also features videos, watercolors, black-and-white drawings, and prints. Photographer Rineke Dijkstra created a portrait of Hockney, especially for this exhibition.
Van Gogh inspiration
Hockney on Van Gogh: ‘His paintings are full of movement. What people love about Van Gogh’s paintings is that all the brush marks are visible and you can see how they are painted. When you’re drawing one blade of grass you’re looking and then you see more. And then you see the other blades of grass and you’re always seeing more. Well, that’s exciting to me and it was exciting to Van Gogh. I mean, he saw very clearly’.
‘The world is colourful. It is beautiful, I think. Nature is great. Van Gogh worshipped nature. (…) He might have been miserable, but that doesn’t show in his work. There are always things that will try to pull you down. But we should be joyful in looking at the world’. – David Hockney
The Van Gogh Museum, Museumplein 6, Amsterdam – March 1–May 26