David Hockney was 16 when he first came across the work of Vincent Van Gogh at Manchester Art Gallery. “I do remember thinking he must have been quite a rich artist. He could use two whole tubes of blue to paint the sky in one painting,” he remarked during an interview with Hans den Hartog Jager. Ironically, Hockney goes on to become the world’s most expensive living artist and one who is inspired by the work of Van Gogh.
After a well-received show at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam last year, Hockney-Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature makes its way to Houston, Texas, marking the first exhibition for the two visionary artists together in the US. The initial exhibition was highly praised for the way it drew comparisons between both artists’ rich use of color and fascination with the changing of the seasons, despite the fact that Hockney’s scale often dwarfs Van Gogh’s studies.
The exhibition reveals Van Gogh’s unmistakable influence on Hockney in a selection of carefully curated landscape paintings and drawings. Through bold use of color and experimentation with perspective, both artists craft worlds that are unique and true to them, yet offer mass appeal. 50 of Hockney’s vibrant works, ranging from intimate sketchbook studies to iPad drawings and monumental paintings are presented next to 10 carefully chosen paintings and drawings by Van Gogh.
The scale of works like Hocnkey’s The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 – a painting 10 meters wide, and made up of 32 individual canvases – makes clear that Hockney is continuing to bring fresh ideas and innovative styles to his work. Alongside the large-scale canvases and watercolours, the exhibition will include iPad drawings; The Four Seasons, Woldgate Woods (Spring 2011, Summer 2010, Autumn 2010, Winter 2010), as well as a video installation work in which nine cameras, placed at different angles, were driven through the same part of Yorkshire woodland at the mid-points of the four seasons, with the four videos playing simultaneously on facing walls. In addition to Hockney’s use of the iPad, ‘photographic drawing’ In the Studio, created with the help of 3D-scanning technology, will also be displayed.
Hockney – Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, through June 20.