The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011, Version 3, took the chilly gloom out of a foggy San Francisco morning with tree trunks standing tall and straight in brilliant purples, reds and rusts, and flowers of many colors springing from the earth like jewels. Measuring 12 feet high by 32 feet wide, the dazzling 32-canvas oil painting conjures a magnificent early spring with Hockney’s unwavering command of scale.
On a much smaller-scale, Hockney’s series of 36 x 48” tree tunnels reveal nature’s lush velvet canopy in The Tunnel Early Autumn, October, 2005 giving way to graceful yet bare branches in Winter Tunnel with Snow, March, 2006.
Rounded bales of hay, evoked in subtle watercolor, nearly roll off a misty Harvested Field. East Yorkshire 2004.
Whether executed in oil, acryllic, watercolor, charcoal or as an Ipad drawing, on canvas or on single or multiple sheets of paper, Hockney’s landscapes -- his En Plein Air (Outdoors) works -- offer viewers a sumptuous vision of nature, and often one that chronicles the passage of time.
To convey multiple views of the forest in winter, spring, summer and fall in a totally different medium, Hockney made digital videos of Woldgate Woods in East Yorkshire, also in 2010 and 2011. He used nine cameras simultaneously to create what he calls a “Cubist movie,” noting he’s not “anti-lens, he’s anti a single lens!” The resulting videos are displayed on nine flat-screen monitors, allowing viewers to be "stopping by woods on a snowy evening" or summer day, to watch the changing light and perspective.
This exhibition highlights Hockney’s ability to engage with – and gain mastery of – a wide variety of tools and media. At 76 years old, the most influential and best-known British artist of his generation continues to explore, inspire and delight.
“Like an artist alchemist, in one minute Hockney uses a fancy digital device to make a colorful iPad drawing; in the next he shows us that he is one of our greatest draftsmen by rendering an exactingly detailed charcoal drawing of a forest scene in East Yorkshire,” notes Richard Benefield, deputy director of the Fine Arts Museums of SF, and organizer of the exhibition.
Assembled by Hockney exclusively for the de Young, more than 300 works – shown in 18,000 square feet of gallery space, makes this the largest exhibition in the history of the museum. Included are intimate portraits of friends and colleagues, brilliant charcoals on paper from May, 2013 and five majestic scenes of Yosemite National Park, created as iPad drawings, then printed as large as 12 feet high!
Antenna International audio tour has been written and recorded to guide visitors through this landmark exhibition.
A catalogue, David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition, published by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, showcases one of the most diverse and prolific chapters in David Hockney’s career. Hardcover $65/$58.50 members; softcover $45/$40.50 members.
Where: Golden Gate Park
Phone: (415) 750-3600
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m.; Friday (March 29-November 29) 9:30 a.m.-8:45 p.m.; closed Mondays
Admission Tickets start at $25 for adults and include general admission; discounts are available for seniors, students and youths. Special Premium tickets are also available. Members and children 5 and under are free. Tickets available at deyoungmuseum.org.