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Hockney: The Biography Volume 1 Hardcover – 24 Nov 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Century; First edition edition (24 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846057086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846057083
  • Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 3 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 182,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"a chatty, knowledgeable, insider's biography, full of anecdotes" (Guardian)

"a marvellous, vivid story" (Alexander McCall Smith, Observer ‘Books of the Year’)

"satisfyingly gossipy" (Sunday Times)

"an exhaustive and authoritative telling of the Hockney story" (Independent)

Book Description

The final say on Britain's best-loved, most colourful and controversial artist: David Hockney.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James from Bath on 23 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A biography which entertains as it informs. It is very readable, full of outlandish stories that did not make it into Peter Webb's 1988 biography. I found the earlier years the most interesting, before Hockney's rise to fame. A major bonus in this biography is the ability of the author to draw on Laura Hockney's diaries. The entries quoted are a marvellous Alan Bennett-type foil to Hockney's new metropolitan ways. Thus Laura confides to her diary during one of Hockney's visits home from college: 'Met Mrs Todd who was pleased to see David but not keen on the blond hair'.

The book responds sensitively to the pictures, without losing sight of the fact that this is principally biography, not art history. It is particularly strong on the prints, which Hockney (we learn) first opted to do because he was hard up and the materials in the print department at the RCA were free.

I would have liked more photographs of both people and places mentioned, as well as the work. There is a mistake on page 315 when the author suggests Blake and Palmer were Pre-Raphaelites. They were not.

Nevertheless, this is an excellent book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By bucherwurm on 28 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Greatly enjoyed this biography which not just describes Hockney the artist but particularly Hockney the man, his doubts, delights, hopes and disappointments and, not least, the frequent returns to his roots and family in Bradford. I am greatly looking foreward to the second volume!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Ligthelm on 8 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
This biography is not only full of interesting facts, it is written in a very easy and readable way. It is also very witty. I can recommend this book to everyone and am looking forward to part II.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. Maguire on 21 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once again an interesting and informative book covering the early years of his career. Quite gossipy with lots of 'dips' into his mother's diaries, which are interesting in themselves. His art is covered too and many works are explained but without being dry and tedious like so many artist's biographies.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait for the second book. I have read some negative reviews by some (pretentious)writers and can only say that I am glad they didn't write this book as it would probably have bored me to death!
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Format: Hardcover
What follows is a review of volume two [sic], which I have earlier posted on Amazon (q.v.) As it also applies, mutatis mutandis, to this volume, I give it here again.
Once again a large publishing house (Random House) lets down its despised readers by failing to check or proofread a work which, had it been corrected, could have been a significant success. Mr Sykes has done enormous research into his subject; his judgment on matters of character is unexceptionable; his style is happily lacking in the grandiose pomposity of some of the critics whom he describes. And yet ... Mr Sykes has been in a great hurry. Hundreds of sentences are wholly or (more usually) partly garbled. It is often impossible, when he is describing the interrelations between three or four people, to know to whom the 'he' refers. The one indispensable virtue - clarity - has been lost. In addition, there are absurd vocabulary errors: Hockney 'renounces' (instead of 'rejects') an accusation of plagiarism (p.166); he makes 'two sets of each picture' (i.e. he makes two copies of each picture, resulting in two sets) (p.161). Most ludicrous of all, he tells us of someone 'decanting' poetry (meaning 'reciting', but probably thinking of 'descanting', which would also have been wrong.) This is in addition to many typographical errors.
This is nevertheless a valuable piece of work and of great interest to Hockney enthusiasts like myself. It should in due course be reissued in corrected form. In the meantime, heads at Random House need to roll.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By philip dare on 30 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent book which reads easily, not always the case with this type of publication.Never dry or dull.Well researched and written with wit and feeling.Highly recommended.
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