Comparisons to Monet Bothered This Artist. Now They’re Side by Side.
This artist is a master at making simple, elegant objects seem complex and beautiful, all in the space of a single afternoon.
“Monet was a master at simplicity,” says David Hockney. “He would make you think the world was so much more complicated than it is.”
Monet and Hockney’s common interest, however, is in a different end of the spectrum: the process of artistic creation itself. Unlike his fellow Impressionists, who spent their days painting their masterpieces in what has become a canon of accepted modern art, Hockney was not an artist.
“I never felt I had to make a picture to tell a story,” he says. “As a boy in my parents’ home, I was very happy to look at a bowl of fruit and to imagine what it could represent, because it spoke to me immediately.”
Hockney wanted to write poems and stories while he was growing up. So in his early 20s, he had a writing partner, Paul Nash. Their collaboration ended when Hockney turned to sculpture, and began to experiment with non-figurative art.
“I don’t really think it had a name in my generation,” says Hockney. “I was interested in seeing how abstract things could be expressive and moving.”
In his short 20-year career, Hockney spent time as a writer and academic. On his return to his chosen profession as a painter, he worked on numerous commissions, one of which was for the National Gallery of Canada for a large, wall-sized portrait of Canadian painter Duncan Campbell Scott.
The assignment was for Hockney to take 20 minutes of still life photography and create the portrait in the image he saw. The assignment was not, Hockney says, that he was trying to create a still life but, rather, that he was trying to create a figure and