David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture
Sponsored by BNP Paribas
Main Galleries
21 January–9 April 2012

Royal Academy of Arts
Burlington House, Piccadilly
London W1J OBD


The Royal Academy of Arts presents the first major exhibition in the UK to showcase David Hockney’s landscape work. Vivid paintings inspired by the Yorkshire countryside, many exhibited here for the first time, are shown alongside related drawings and digital video. Over 150 works are on display, the majority of which have been created in the last eight years. The exhibition also includes a selection of works dating as far back as 1956, which places the recent work in the context of Hockney’s extended exploration of and fascination with landscape. The exhibition takes the visitor on a journey through Hockney’s view of the world.

Initially, the exhibition addresses the various approaches that Hockney has taken towards the depiction of landscape throughout his career. Past works include Rocky Mountains and Tired Indians, 1965 (The National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh), Garrowby Hill, 1998 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) and A Closer Grand Canyon, 1998 (Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek). Hockney’s exploration of the depiction of space is traced from work dating to his time as a student, through his photocollages of the 1980s and the Grand Canyon paintings of the late 1990s, to the recent paintings of East Yorkshire, frequently made en plein air.

The exhibition reveals the artist’s emotional engagement with the landscape he knew in his youth, as, in a series of galleries each dedicated to a particular motif, he examines daily variations in light and weather conditions and the cycles of growth and decay as the seasons change. Since undertaking this exhibition in 2007, Hockney’s intense observation of his surroundings has become manifested in a variety of media. Highlights include three groups of new work made specifically for this exhibition.

Firstly, a series of paintings inspired by Claude Lorrain’s painting The Sermon on the Mount, 1656 (The Frick Collection, New York) in which Hockney explores its unusual treatment of space, culminating in the monumental painting: A Bigger Message, 2010. Secondly, new digital videos featuring motifs familiar from Hockney’s paintings are displayed on multiple screens; filmed simultaneously using nine and eighteen cameras, they provide a spellbinding visual experience. Hockney’s in-depth engagement with the works of the Old Masters and the historical use of optical aids was made clear in his book Secret Knowledge (2001). Hockney too has always embraced new technologies for the purposes of image making, most recently the iPad.

The exhibition culminates in the largest of the Royal Academy’s galleries, with the immersive work The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven). Hockney’s glorious homage to nature is dominated by a painting on 32 canvases, surrounded by over fifty large-scale iPad drawings printed on paper, which chronicle the advancing season in breathtaking detail. Hockney has found in landscape the ultimate subject for ‘A Bigger Picture’.

David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture has been organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London in collaboration with the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne. The exhibition has been curated by the independent curator Marco Livingstone and Edith Devaney, the Royal Academy of Arts.

Open to public:
Saturday, 21 January–Monday, 9 April 2012
10am–6pm daily (last admission 5.30pm)
Late night opening:
Fridays until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm)

Tickets for David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture are available daily at the RA. To book tickets in advance please tel: 0844 209 0051 or visit www.royalacademy.org.uk. Groups of 10 or more are asked to book in advance; please telephone 020 7300 8027, fax: 020 7300 8084 or email: [email protected]

To book call 020 7300 8000 and www.royalacademy.org.uk

*Image above:
Private collection. David Hockney, “Winter Timber” (detail), 2009.
Oil on fifteen canvases, 274.3 x 609.6 cm overall. © David Hockney.
Photo: Jonathan Wilkinson