David Hockney 1937 –
David Hockney has always been interested in using technology to enhance his work. When he moved from England to Los Angeles in 1964, he used the relatively new acrylic paint to capture the sunlight of L.A. in his pool paintings, photography to capture different perspectives and etching and printmaking to work with and explore the utilization of layers of colors.
In 2009, Hockney began to work with an iPad, which he says gives him the ability to capture light, especially the light of the Early Morning.
Hockney has been living at a farmhouse in Normandy for the past two years, and has been drawing his surroundings on his iPad. The results of his work are 220 landscape paintings that are currently on display as a 298 foot-long frieze at the Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris.
Hockney’s fascination with light and technology led him to an exploration of the way in which Old Masters, like Caravaggio, Vermeer, and da Vinci were able to create highly detailed and hyperrealistic paintings with just the naked eye. In 2001, he published a book called Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters. He concluded that many of those paintings were done using optics and lenses, so that the artists could see more with mirrors and lenses than what could be seen with just the naked eye.
A copy of David Hockney’s book was given to inventor, Tim Jenison, by one of his daughters and it inspired him to try to understand the mechanics that Vermeer used to create his works. Tim, who is not an artist, decided that he was going to paint a Vermeer. He told his friends, magicians Penn and Teller, about his idea and they documented the incredible steps he took to try to duplicate the Old Master’s work. The result is a wonderful documentary, called Tim’s Vermeer. Tim went to visit David Hockney during the making of the film, and Hockney was very encouraging to the inventor. Seeing Hockney’s reactions to Tim’s discoveries are some of the highlights of the film.
David Wilkes. Hockney’s 300 feet of spring! Artist David creates 220 landscape pictures on his iPad of his farmhouse in France as seasons changed during lockdown. Daily Mail. October 8, 2021.
Auction Central News. Christie’s to auction David Hockney’s vibrant ‘Guest House Garden’ in October. September 10, 2021.
Anna Murphy. David Hockney is the art world’s raining champion. The Times. May 28, 2021.