Thursday, October 29, 2009

Far to go

The connection between John Bunyan and David Hockney may not be immediately apparent and, I must admit, it is pretty tenuous, if not downright contrived. However, "far to go" is the connection - Bunyan in his Pilgrim's Progress journeyed through the Slough of Despond to the Land of Beulah, and Hockney in his journey has gone from Yorkshire to California and back again to Yorkshire, perhaps for him his Land of Beulah.

Bunyan's journey, though no doubt worth it, couldn't persuade me to be his companion for long, especially at this time of night after my own long journey home along I-20. So, sloughing, if not slouching, through my despond I saw David Hockney's 1976 autobiography, David Hockney by David Hockney and remembered that my 1984 copy of Living in Vogue had an article about him.

Now a man in his seventies, David Hockney is here shown in his London studio, a very young-looking man in his mid-forties. In the book his studio is bracketed between a Bloomsburyish cottage on the Berkshire Downs and a mildly pompous country house in Oxfordshire. Not of that last sentence is really germaine to the story but I must say the contrast makes it refreshing to see the sprawling mess of creativity visually swirling around this most talented of artists.

Hockney was and remains one of my favorite artists. I still love his superbly lively and delicate drawings from the seventies, every painting of his I've ever seen and for years have been content viewing what I could when I could.

The photo below is from an article entitled David Hockney's Long Road Home and published in The New York Times earlier this month. Go here for a better account than I could give you.

Bigger Trees Near Water donated in 2008 to the Tate Gallery - go here.

Exciting stuff and not yet journey's end.

Sources: and the New York Times.


  1. I too love Hockney's 1970s work, and though some may pass his latest work off as the result of being an out of touch old codger, I am not one of those people.

    His present work says much about the journey of an artist and the lifespan of the individual. There is something verging on a form of closure in Hockney's return to Yorkshire from California and his new work, that perhaps many can relate to.

  2. You're right about the journey and the closure of a circle - I wonder if he sees it that way? It happens at various stages of life for us all.

  3. I am only just catching up with a few recent posts of yours - all of which merit a lot of attention. Marvellous. I love that picture of Hockney in his studio. I just can't make up my mind, however, about his recent work. Your example is great but some of it I worry about. There is no doubt he is a brilliant artist and he is constantly experimenting and pushing on which one can only admire.