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David Hockney, 220 for 2020 and Normandy Art



For so many of us, last year meant a new and unexpected familiarity with our homes, as we grappled to take yet another Zoom meeting at the kitchen table while other members of the family ate breakfast.
For the man who is arguably the world’s greatest living artist, though, working from home meant something entirely different. Finding beauty in his Normandy surroundings, David Hockney used his iPad to spontaneously capture the changing seasons which has created the brand new XXL book 'David Hockney. 220 for 2020.' The project became a lifeline for the artist, and a message of hope to us all. We are please to have the Collector's Edition book available to pre-order at the Artmarket Gallery. Take a look at the David Hockney. 220 for 2020 XXL bookhere.

David Hockney might be 83, but his advancing years have never stopped him from regularly rebooting for a fresh new take on the world around him.

In late 2018, he was in London for the dedication of a stained glass window he’d designed for Westminster Abbey (and yes, that was another first for him – he’d never worked in stained glass before).

Not fancying the long flight back to his home in Los Angeles, he decided to take a break in northern France with his partner and studio assistant, Jean-Pierre Gonçalves de Lima, affectionately known as JP.

The pair motored down to Normandy, the beautiful northwestern region of France with which we Brits have long had a love-hate relationship – it was, after all, the Normans who invaded Britain in 1066.

“When we arrived, we watched the marvellous sunset for three hours, and I said to JP that it would be very nice to draw the arrival of spring in Normandy,” Hockney told the Los Angeles Times in December 2020.

The idea had echoes of two previous projects he’d undertaken. The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire, in 2011 became a massive hit at the Royal Academy as a gallery installation comprising one colossal oil painting and 51 smaller works created on his beloved iPad. 

Images from the exhibition can be seen in the epic A Bigger Book. Published by Taschen, this ‘sumo’ book is Hockney’s ‘definitive visual autobiography’, covering his work from 1953 to 2016.




The other project, which also resulted in a Taschen book – this time just a little smaller, so officially a ‘baby sumo’ – was My Window, which followed the changing of the seasons as seen from the artist’s window. 

Both magnificent books are limited editions; at the time of writing, selected art editions are still available from the Artmarket Gallery, although things changed quickly in the world of Hockney artwork, as do the prices.




But back to Normandy. Hockney is nothing if not decisive, and it didn’t take long for him to decide that he wanted to make a home there for himself, JP and their dog, Ruby.

They bought the first place they looked at, in Honfleur (it was ‘cheaper than anything in Sussex’, the artist reported): a timbered farmhouse amid four acres of rural land with a handy outbuilding that was quickly converted into a studio. It also has several welcoming fireplaces – a glowing image of one of those graced the front cover of The New Yorker magazine in December: you can see the animated version here.

And that was where they were when the world went crazy in early 2020. Somewhat typically, Hockney’s first response to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown was to issue a positive and vibrant iPad image of daffodils in bloom, jauntily entitled Do remember they can’t cancel the spring.

It was the first of many images of the seasons passing through Honfleur that will form the basis of an exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Arts from 27 March to 22 August 2021: David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020.

The Royal Academy says: “David Hockney RA is one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century – and he remains one of the most inventive. 
“This new body of work – 116 works in total – has been ‘painted’ on the iPad and then printed onto paper, with Hockney overseeing all aspects of production. 
“Made in the spring of 2020, during a period of intense activity at his home in Normandy, this exhibition charts the unfolding of spring, from beginning to end, and is a joyous celebration of the seasons.

“Opening exactly a year after the works were made during the global pandemic, this exhibition will be a reminder of the constant renewal and wonder of the natural world – and the beauty of spring.”



He also has plans for 2021 for yet another innovative exhibition in Paris which will pay tribute to one of his own personal favourite artworks – the Bayeux Tapestry, the embroidered cloth made just a few years after that invasion in 1066 and depicting both it and the events leading up to it, now displayed in the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux in Bayeux, less than an hour’s drive from Hockney’s current home.

“I’m going to paint the whole year in six very large panels,” he told The New Yorker in December 2020.

“Each will be one and a half metres high by ten metres long. We’ll be showing it first at the Musée de l’Orangerie, in Paris. It’ll be in a long corridor, so, as you walk down one side and up another, the seasons will change very slowly. The entire work will be sixty metres long. The Bayeux Tapestry is sixty-eight metres long, but it’s going to be similar because it’s you that’s going to move, not the pictures.”

In these challenging times, Hockney’s joie de vivre and positive outlook is an inspiration to us all.

"We have lost touch with nature rather foolishly as we are a part of it, not outside it,” he told the BBC’s Will Gompertz in April 2020.

“This will in time be over, and then what? What have we learned? I am 83 years old. I will die. The cause of death is birth.

"The only real things in life are food and love in that order, just like our little dog Ruby. I believe this, and the source of art is love.
 
"I love life."

David Hockney. 220 for 2020 is available to pre-order now at the Artmarket Gallery. Comprised of 220 (plus four bonus) iPad paintings, the book takes us on a journey of Normandy throughout 2020 in Hockney's sought after style. Accompanied by an extra volume with facsimiles of two sketchbooks created in the build up to the project, this book is a must-have for any Hockney admirer or collector. 

The book is available to pre-order here, with 0% finance option available too.

Art Editions A, B, C, & D of the David Hockney. 220 for 2020., which come with an 11-color inkjet print each signed and numbered by the artist, may be available. Contact our Art Consultants to find out more.