Monday 11 June 2007 –
Five new paintings from David Hockney’s East Yorkshire landscape series will be exhibited for the first time in the UK at Tate Britain from 11 June 2007. David Hockney is arguably the most versatile and popular British artist of the 20th century. The exhibition of new paintings marks the artist’s 70th birthday in July. David Hockney: The East Yorkshire Landscape will include five large new paintings, each one around 12ft long. The new works were all painted from the same spot in Woldgate Woods over the course of one year.
David Hockney was born on 9 July 1937 in Saltaire, Bradford. He graduated from the Bradford School of Art in 1957 and studied at the Royal College of Art from 1959-1962. While there he met RB Kitaj and became instrumental in the founding of the British Pop Art movement. Hockney settled in Los Angeles in 1978. He has been the subject of countless solo exhibitions worldwide including a major touring retrospective held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Tate Gallery, London in 1988.
East Yorkshire first engaged Hockney’s imagination as a teenager when he worked on the land during summer holidays, stooking corn. As an adult, Hockney has intermittently returned to this part of England when visiting his mother and sister at their home in the coastal town of Bridlington. However, he only became fully absorbed by the landscape over the past four years, making it the primary source of inspiration for his art. Attracted by the space and light of East Yorkshire, where he has said one experiences “the sorts of wide vistas you get all the time in the American West,” Hockney first addressed this pastoral landscape in watercolour. The watercolour medium allowed Hockney to work quickly in open air to capture the changing light and its effect upon the land. Returning to the same locales, Hockney is now approaching the subject in oil, while still painting primarily in situ.
Loading his pickup truck with easels, canvases and paints, Hockney drives to his chosen destination and sets up his tools. Then he sits for a couple of hours looking at the landscape, absorbing the view, before picking up a paintbrush. This quiet but intent observation is followed by feverish activity to capture the essence of what he sees. Hockney conveys the land and light in electric colour, bringing to the canvases his love of place, freshly observed and infused by decades of experience and the memories that it conjures of childhood days.
David Hockney: The East Yorkshire Landscape will coincide with the major BP Summer Exhibition Hockney on Turner Watercolours in June 2007. The exhibitionwill showcase Turner’s unrivalled mastery of the medium, with the insights of a contemporary artist who is also an exceptional watercolourist. David Hockney is working alongside a team of Tate Curators on Hockney on Turner Watercolours led by David Blayney Brown.