On the occasion of the release of the Taschen book celebrating David Hockney, Robilant+Voena St. Moritz is pleased to present a small show of drawings by the British artist.
David Hockney – A Bigger Book is a large-scale monograph limited to 10’000 signed copies. Each page unfurls in a blaze of blues, pinks, greens, and oranges, showcasing both by the artist’s vibrancy as a colourist and his extraordinary sense of the conditions of the world that surrounds us. A spectacular overview of Hockney’s work, the book’s portfolio is supplemented by an illustrated chronology of more than 600 pages, contextualising his art with drawings, graphic work, portrait photos, texts and contemporary reviews.
David Hockney was born in 1937, the fourth of five children, to creative, politically radical working class parents. His interest in art made itself known early on and was encouraged by his family. At 16, his parents agreed to send him to art school. Hockney attended the Bradford College of Art from 1953 to 1957. In 1959 he entered graduate school at the Royal College of Art in London alongside other young artists such as Peter Blake and Allen Jones where he experimented with different forms, including Abstract Expressionism.
Hockney graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1962. In 1964 he visited Los Angeles for the first time. The sun-drenched landscape, glittering swimming pools and people in their sophisticated houses inspired some of his iconic paintings. “How do you paint glass? How do you paint water? How do you paint transparent things? Drawing is about looking, looking. How do we see, and how do I depict that?”
His style evolved, and by the 1970s he was considered more of a realist. Just a few years later moved beyond painting in favour of projects involving photography, lithographs, and set and costume design for the ballet, opera and theatre. In the late 1980s Hockney returned to painting, primarily painting seascapes, flowers and portraits of loved ones. He also began incorporating technology in his art, creating his first homemade prints on a photocopier in 1986. The marriage of art and technology became an ongoing fascination—he used laser fax machines and laser printers in 1990, and in 2009 he started using the Brushes app on his mobile devices to create paintings.
What makes Hockney interesting is that he has never settled for a signature style or medium. From monumental paintings of swimming pools and seething summer fields to tender, meticulous pencil portraits such as those presented in our St. Moritz exhibition, from cubist opera sets to vases of flowers drawn on iPads or sent by fax machines, Hockney has always been a relentless innovator, an artist who appears familiar while refusing to stay still.
In an interview on the making of the Taschen monograph Hockney describes himself as a person who generally lives in the now. Selecting and arranging the works for the publication made him look back on his body of work from 1953 to 2016. “I know now that I have painted quite a few memorable pictures,” was his modest verdict.