‘I’ve always found the world quite beautiful, looking at it. Just looking.’
~ David Hockney (b. 1937)
British-born artist David Hockney almost literally made a splash when he unveiled this painting in 1967.
Born in the town of Bradford in Yokshire, England, Hockney studied art at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London and taught at Maidstone College of Art for a short time before moving to Los Angeles in 1964. There he was inspired to make a series of pop art paintings of swimming pools in the comparatively new acrylic medium using vibrant colours. A bigger Splash became an instant hit at the time, and is regarded as a masterpiece of 20th century modern art.
In 2003, after four decades in sunny LA, Hockney returned, for personal reasons, to Yorkshire. Going back to Yorkshire must have been an unexciting prospect – a return to well-trodden ground. But soon after arriving, he noticed how strongly his way of seeing had been conditioned by his many years in LA. English nature turned out to be very different from the way he remembered it. And all of a sudden, he could appreciate how full of life the landscape of his childhood really was. ‘In southern California, if you went out to paint, the only thing that would be fluctuating are the shadows as they moved,’ Hockney recounted. ‘Here in East Yorkshire, the shadows might not be there much of the time, but other things are constantly altering. Somebody came up to visit and said, “I can see why you like it here, David; it hasn’t changed much, but it changes all the time.” To which Hockney replied, “Yes, precisely.” And Hockney’s spontaneous response was to paint the Yorkshire landscape, beginning with a series of works showing a single path through the woods which completely changes in appearance with the seasons. He called this series The Tunnel.
The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 is another series of paintings infused with the colors and quiet beauty of nature as it transitions from spring to winter. Hockney consider this series to be a single work of art, comprising of one enormous oil painting and 51 iPad drawings as exhibition prints. He later printed 49 of those drawings with dimensions of 55 x 41 ½ inches in an edition of 25, and a group of 12 in a larger size in an edition of 10.
Selected Works from The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011