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This is a sumptuous book, well deserving of its meteoric rise to best-seller status on the opening of the Royal Academy of Arts exhibition which it serves as the catalogue. The large, almost square format lends itself well to the several hundred full colour reproductions. Some works extend across two pages, but the problem so common with art books of key features being interrupted by, or even disappearing into, the page fold seems not to occur with Hockney. Or perhaps this is just very superior book design.

Like the exhibition, the book majors on Hockney's recent work centred on a relatively small patch of East Yorkshire. Without abandoning his Californian base, Hockney has spent much time in recent years in East Yorkshire, observing in particular the changing seasons as reflected in the lanes, trees and fields. Hugely prolific in several media, he returns time and again to the same single-track road - a one-time Roman road, apparently - the same tunnel of trees, and some open views across fields, tram-tracked in their season by outsize farm machinery. His painting style frequently echoes that of Van Gogh, and we are reminded that Van Gogh too produced large numbers of rustic pictures.

A photograph presented as the first of no less than seven splendid frontispieces seems to indicate that Hockney reproduces the physical features of his landscapes very much as in life. He changes perspective and colour tone, but trees, hedges and gaps in hedges remain very much as they are. The detail of some subjects is given closer attention on some of his visits than on others. There is a huge amount for us to observe, and this book makes it possible to do so at leisure, over as long a period as we wish.

Whilst the book majors on recent works made in East Yorkshire, significant space is given to earlier work in Yorkshire and elsewhere, including the renowned Grand Canyon series. Not quite amounting to a retrospective, this provides a liberal setting of context. Hockney also shares with us his 2010 series based on Claude Lorrain's 1656 painting, The Sermon on the Mount; something very different, although still outdoors. And towards the end of the book we have photographs taken by Hockney (with acknowledged assistance) with banks of nine and eighteen cameras - with words of explanation by Hockney on the genesis of that project and on why nine (or 18) cameras are better than one. He surmises that the new technology will enable new kinds of narrative, as the movie camera did ninety years ago. He has of course long been one to embrace new technologies as they arrive.

Essays by Hockney's fellow Yorkshire person, the novelist Margaret Drabble, three eminent curators, the author of the companion volume A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney, and Tim Barringer, Professor of Art History at Yale University, complement the wealth of Hockney generated material. In all, this book puts many another best-seller in the shade. Hockney's preferred shade, we surmise, would be that of his beloved Woldgate as the trees there grow into their early summer splendour. In all its seasons, he has done Woldgate proud, and us too.
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on 23 February 2012
Excellent, large pictures so you can see the details and colours which is great for artists. Not been a fan of Hockneys` work in the past until I saw the TV programme about the artist working in the landscape that and the book has made me want to see the pictures in real life, if I can get into the London exhibition because it is so popular. Also bought the DVD and the book `A bigger Message,Conversations with David Hockney` Martin Gayford, because the price reduction from Amazon meant they were more affordable than buying from the RA.
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This exhibition at the Royal Academy is inspirational. It is huge in every way: lots of pictures, some massive, in lots of rooms. What really hits you is Hockney's use of colour. There are a couple of early landscapes of Yorkshire that are grey and dour. Then Hockney moves to Hollywood and catches colour. That is probably rather a simplistic way of putting it, but that is how it feels. There are some wonderful photomontages of the Grand Canyon that lead to an enormous painted version in scarlet, vermilion and crimson, not perhaps colours you would associate with the Grand Canyon but it works.

Stunning as the pictures of America are, it is the paintings of East Yorkshire that are the stars of the show. Again, his use of colour is amazing. The paintings are luminous, glowing, uplifting. Especially interesting are the fifty-one (derived from sketching using an app on his Ipad) of the changing seasons in, I think, Woldingham Woods. (He says that the Ipad was easy to use sitting in the car when it was cold.) He painted many of the pictures en plein air, where it would have been difficult to manage huge canvases, so, apart from using his Ipad, many of paintings have been put together using nine or more separate small canvases.

I was lucky enough to go and see the exhibition, but I know that many people will not be able to. This book is the next best thing. It features all the works in the exhibition with interesting articles on Hockney, his pictures and techniques used.

The quality of the reproductions is excellent, the paintings losing only a little of their depth and luminosity.

I should have liked to have spent more time at the exhibition - an hour or so a day for several weeks. Since that is not possible, I can study the paintings in this book instead. One misses the massive scale of the paintings, but one can't have everything and this is a pretty good substitute.
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on 4 March 2012
His paintings are absolutely beautifully reproduced and the text, though small is illuminating They do justice to the originals that I saw at the Royal Academy last week.
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on 27 February 2012
I usually regret not buying a hardback edition of an exhibition catalogue so this time I spoilt myself and I don't regret paying the extra.
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on 12 May 2012
If you are a new fan of Hockney get this book. If you are an old fan of Hocknet get this book. If you saw the R.A. exhibition get this book. If you didn't see the exhibition get this book.
O.K. you get the point, this is an absolutely superb book with fantastic reproductions of fantastic paintings. Now that we will never see the show in the U.K. again it really is the next best thing and will continue to give ongoing pleasure and delight.
The various text articles in the book are also well worth giving some time to, even if at first some parts seem a bit difficult to grasp they do give helpful backgrounds and insights to Hockney's work and processes.
Initial delays in getting book due to being out of stock, but constant checking paid off and I got my copy. (I didn't get the promised email alert when in stock so probably just as well I did check)
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on 7 July 2012
I cannot rate this book highly enough. It is especially good where photos cross the centre line where parts are lost in most books, not in this one however. One review claimed that the colour was poor but I didn't find that at all. Well worth buying. I went to the show at the RA but missed quite a lot that I have spotted by studying this book. If you are not sure my advice is GET IT!
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on 3 March 2012
This is a beautifully produced book that I shall find an inspiration for years to come and a reminder of the exhibition. A joy to look at and share, a real celebration of the English countryside. I bought one copy for myself and ordered other copies for members of my art group - much cheaper via Amazon than at the Royal Academy, too, who were charging £60 for the hardback edition.
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on 13 February 2012
An excellent publication at a really good price. Illustration of the finest order. Now I need to visit the Royal Academy for the exhibition, should there be a ticket left.
Delivery by Amazon UK was incredibly swift and well packaged.
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on 3 April 2012
This book like "JUST NATURE" is stunning, the artist works reproduction is excellent, within the limitation of colour printing. I have visited the exhibition at the RAA in London and been some what disapointed with this event for a number of reason, mainly the total lack of organisation which damped my enjoyment. Sitting down on a evening looking through this book makes you understand what makes David Hockney one of our best artist, not to mention all of his other works not excluded. Forget the RAA and all the hasle just buy the book you will not be disappointed. You will also save yourself some money, so you can enjoy a evening in with a bottle of wine and savory the Yorkshire counrtyside
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