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.
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!
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!
I confess, love the look of this biography with a fresh approach to imagery and layout - indicative of the creative years of the subject and mirroring the social milieu at the time. Have met Hockney and still wonder at his intensive creative output and honest outspoken views on everything. Very well researched book with lots of accurate detail and atmospheric on every page. Looking forward to reviewing the second part soon!