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David Hockney: Paintings [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Paul Melia , Ulrich Luckhardt
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

21 Mar 2007
This consideration of Hockney's work from 1960 to the early nineties dispels myths and opens up new lines of inquiry concerning his contributions to post-modern art. Filled with beautiful colour plates of his paintings, the book draws on extensive research and the artist's personal archives. In a broad chronological format, the book reveals the major phases in Hockney's oeuvre: his early years as a student at the Royal College of Art in London and his ironic experimentation with different styles of painting; his images of life in southern California; his highly personal portraits and their studies in perspective; his reinterpretations of modernist paintings; and his forays into photo-collage. The authors' incisive commentary reveals how Hockney's paintings question, parody and undermine accepted ideas about modern art, while forcing us to reconsider our assumptions about originality and creativity.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Prestel; illustrated edition edition (21 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3791337181
  • ISBN-13: 978-3791337180
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 19.8 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 191,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Paul Melia lectures in art history at the universities of Manchester and Staffordshire. Ulrich Luckhardt is curator of twentieth-century painting at the Hamburger Kunsthalle in Germany.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mr Hockney can certainly draw! 12 Sep 2011
A recent article in a newspaper was headed 'Hockney - real artist or con-man?' I imagine this question was due to his high profile as an artist everyone knows, or at least knows for one painting (A Bigger Splash), as well as for his trademark bright hair and glasses. The first few pages of this book dispels any doubts - Mr Hockney is a serious artist and tirelss worker in many styles and forms, with his skill using pencil and brush being of an extremely high order. He has always been keen to learn and experiment with any new medium as it comes along, trying out the photo-copier, the fax-machine and early computer-drawing programmes, and of course the polaroid camera. He is extremely well-versed in the history and practice of Western art, and also in Chinese art, as shown in work that uses a different perspective. It's a well-illustrated book, with competent explanations for each work, plus a biography and time-line. I learned far more than I expected to; however, it stops at 1994, so I'll have to find another book that deals with the subsequent years, his move back to Yorkshire and further work with the camera.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good 16 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a present, so in a sense it's not for me to rate it, but the recipient seemed chuffed.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BOOK 23 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I collect books and CDs of all kinds and all subjects. This is a new interest so wanted some appropriate items. Good price and excellent transaction. Would use again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many color reproductions and accessible essays 10 Jun 2012
By C. B Collins Jr. - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very well organized and well illustrated book. Melia and Luckhardt have selected to focus on the paintings of David Hockney rather than his drawings, prints, photography, collage, and stage designs. They have organized the book under six themes in the artistic development of Hockney and covers the period of his academic training (1955) until the exceptional master work of his maturity, ending with works from 1993. The themes include portraiture and the vast colorful complex paintings of his maturity.

Hockney's integration of gay imagery and themes into his work was certainly brave and cutting edge in the 1950s and this theme of male homoeroticism continues to emerge throughout the forty years covered by this book. Hockney's approach to the homosexual image is grounded in careful craftsmanship. He is playful, subtle, and subdued at times and at others the homoerotic image is unmistakable and predominant. Hockney lives and paints in a time in which homosexuality has emerged from hiding. Yet Hockney does not paint the erotic male figure, the portrait from a nude magazine, but rather has a personal interpretation on the nude male figure. Hockney is inspired by Walt Whitman who recognized that his sexual orientation was an integral part of his being but that it could not be the primary and predominant theme of this work but must be integrated into an esthetic strategy of self revelation and strategic concealment. Thus the works are mysterious, subtle, witty, but never pornographic or over-stated.

Melia and Luckhardt have a short essay for each painting they have selected for his collection. They also include black and white images of drawings and preliminary paintings relevant to the larger color reproduction. The essays of Melia and Luckhardt are very accessible and are not full of incomprehensible tripe that is sometimes found in art book essays.

Hockney's early work bears some resemblance to the Pop Art movement with use of the written word on the canvas and commercial imagery. However, Hockney may use commercial imagery but it is certainly not the primary imagery of the painting, as is the case with many Pop artists. The male nude continues to be a central theme but there is usually some unspoken or unarticulated relationships between the men that is implied and the images have a narrative compositional purpose rather than an erotic purpose. This early period 1955 and 1963 is also marked by the development of a significant strategy in Hockney's work. This is his use of contrasting styles of painting in the same painting so that some images are flattened and some are more modeled and articulated. It is Hockney's skills as a painter that then allow these incongruous elements to work together.

Hockney's move to Southern California in 1963 also marks another significant change in his work. First, his use of color and pattern increases so that his work has a Matisse intensity. Second, he paints some works with perspective and vanishing points and others he tends to flatten and produce large areas of flat color. Third, his control of color, pattern, imagery lead to the first dynamic masterpieces of his career. These include the outstanding `A Lawn Being Sprinkled' and `A Bigger Splash', both of which are reproduced in this book. Also bearing mention are the disconcerting, oddly composed paintings inspired by the wealth and culture of Southern California. These include `California Art Collector' with its references to Italian Renaissance Annunciation paintings; `The Actor' with a conglomeration of oddly placed objects held together with a red, blue, and grey color strategy; and `Portrait Surrounded by Artistic Devices' which demonstrates that Hockney explores multiple compositional and painting techniques that he filters from other artists.

Between 1969 and 1977, Hockney produces some of the most outstanding paintings of his career. These are the figurative portrait paintings of his friends where he employs vanishing point perspective. He also calls upon all this graphic rendering skills to produce images of great beauty. His sense of color is masterful. This book includes `Henry Geldzhaler and Christopher Scott' with its beige and rose color scheme and its extremely formal composition. Also included are the two most beautiful of his paintings, `Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy' and Portrait of an Artist (Pool with two figures)'. There is not time or space for me to express how perfectly executed are these two paintings. They demonstrate complete control of his every talent. The painting of Celia and Ossie Clark is perfect, one of the finest paintings of the 20th Century.

Hockney was influenced by Van Gogh but later in his career he turns to Picasso. His study of cubism certainly informs the exceptional photography that Hockney began to pursue. These unique photographic collages are exceptional and this book has a color reproduction of the witty `Pearblossom Highway'. This book ends with1994 and there is a reproduction of the vast Picasso inspired canvas `A vist with Christopher and Don, Santa Monica Canyon, 1984'. Overall this collection of essays is helpful and the selection of reproductions is excellent.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars David Hockney can be difficult 26 Dec 2013
By john - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I got this as I was intrigued by him and one of his paintings, A BIGGER SPLASH. A curator explained it to me as symbolizing a sexual encounter: the diving board being a (considerable) phallus and the pool being a wet vagina. Interesting that there should be three versions of the painting; reliving old memories?
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