Hockney’s return to nature revitalized a genre, defying those who dismissed landscape painting as bygone and boring. “I knew people in London then who were saying, “you can’t paint landscape now, it’s boring, it’s outdated”, but I thought: how can you be bored with landscape? Landscape is infinite, isn’t? That’s what I started to do in Yorkshire, get the excitement for the landscape back. I went painting outdoors, just to find a new kind of language.” That language included both the iPad drawings and the multi-panel paintings, as well as a consistent emphasis on grand scale.
For the artist, who continues to paint every day, immersion in landscape and Van Gogh’s work has become an exercise in appreciation and pleasure, as much as a quintessence of the artist’s task “I’ve always found the world quite beautiful, looking at it. Just looking….There are always things that will try to pull you down, but we should be joyful in looking at the world.And that’s an important thing I share with Vincent van Gogh: we both really, really enjoy looking at the world.”
Hockney – Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature ran through May 26th at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Find an exclusive interview with David Hockney on landscape painting and the influence of Van Gogh on his work in our companion catalogue.