Thought of the week
How will David Hockney be rated in 30 years’ time? For the moment, both National Treasure and Grand Old Man, he enjoys the warm embrace of the art establishment. The major landscape show in 2012 was followed a couple of months ago by portraits, both at the RA. Next month, Tate Britain will award him with ‘his most comprehensive exhibition yet’, and in his native Bradford the Hockney Gallery will soon open. Yet, if not feet, he does, perhaps have one clay toe.
By far the most impressive works in the 2012 show were large-scale charcoal drawings of Yorkshire woods. In the large paintings on similar themes, however, colour overwhelmed draughtsmanship. One, which I thought poor then, is the 10ft 5in-wide Woldgate Woods, 24, 25 and 26 October, 2006, (below), sold for $11,712,500 (£9.4m) in mid November by Sotheby’s New York. On seeing it again at the London view, I liked it still less. Others view it differently. To the contemporary specialist Mario Livingstone: ‘The paintings [Hockney] has made of the Wolds between 2005 and the end of 2008 are in purely technical terms—but also in their observational accuracy and evocation of space—the most commanding he has ever made.’ Well, give me (or my heirs) one of the charcoals any day and certainly in 30 years’ time.