EXHIBITION: HOCKNEY IN NORMANDY

Published January 30, 2022
Hayrolls under Tree
Hayrolls under Tree

During the time we are living in, when painters, especially Americans, create their masterpieces within minutes using computers and cameras and sell them for millions of dollars, British artist David Hockney is a trailblazer. He reflects over his visions using his innermost emotions and by taking his own time with them, then transferring them on to his canvases with a passion much akin to a Van Gogh or a Gauguin from another age.

This, however, does not mean that Hockney has never been an adventurer in the modern-day art world. Born in Yorkshire, England, he has travelled constantly to the United States, participating in modern art competitions and exhibitions and raising an immense fortune as a result.

Just to give one example, only a few years ago, his painting Pool with Two Figures was sold in New York for 90 million dollars in an auction, making it at that point the most expensive artwork in history created by a painter while still alive.

But the subject of our interest today is Hockney’s return to his passion for the countryside, which he has always known, remembered and painted as a teenager in Yorkshire.

And what better place in the world to observe nature in its most glorious form than the Normandy region in the north-west of France! Once he visited Normandy some three years ago, Hockney immediately decided to settle down there, bought a house and the farm surrounding it and restlessly continued to paint despite his advanced age, as he is moving toward his 85th birthday soon.

A Paris museum showcases British painter David Hockney’s new works since settling down in France

The Musée de l’Orangerie (Orangerie Museum) in Paris, whose breathtakingly long walls we have already discussed in this column last August when it was exhibiting Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, has decided to show Hockney’s latest paintings created in Normandy.

Despite the fact that one sees the artist’s house, its garden, the lake and the pastures again and again under different seasons, one is never tired of watching the magical and gorgeous images with absolute wonder and fascination. Hockney makes it a point to keep birds, horses or other farm animals away from his scenes.

By the Lake
By the Lake

Undoubtedly, emotionally linked to the Impressionist movement led by Monet rather than to the high-tech methodology of our era, Hockney has transferred on to his canvases his visions of a vibrant blue sky with patches of snow-white clouds and the sweetly glowing golden rays of the sun on reflective lakes with similar enthusiasm.

Exposed on the 80m long walls of the Orangerie, the show is called ‘A Year in Normandy’, and represents paintings with a succession of all the four seasons, in a tradition dedicated to Monet’s Water Lilies. This exhibition, dedicated to nature and its various phases of weather and light, is equally a formidable occasion for art enthusiasts to witness the reawakening of museums in Paris, following months and months of forced closures for health reasons.

‘A Year in Normandy’ by David Hockney is up at the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris until February 14, 2022

The writer is an art critic based in Paris.
He may be reached on zafmasud@gmail.com

Published in Dawn, EOS, January 30th, 2022

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