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January 18, 2012

David Hockney’s Royal Academy of Arts Exhibition

By Rachel Wolff | Art

© David Hockney, Pearblossom Highway, 11-18 April 1986 / The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Gift of David Hockney

David Hockney—the bespectacled English artist best known for his 1960s-era paintings of sky-blue swimming pools, friends, lovers and Beverly Hills housewives—took up a different subject matter altogether in 2005. He returned to his childhood town of Bridlington, perched seaside in northwest England, and found himself completely seduced by the lush greenery and expansive landscape he had known when he was younger. He set about depicting it, both in intimate watercolor sketches and in monumental, multi-panel paintings. The resulting works—some of which are realistic, others wild with shocks of psychedelic, van Gogh–esque color—are the basis of a new survey of Hockney’s landscapes at the Royal Academy of Art in London, titled “David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture.” It illustrates Hockney’s continued stylistic strides, the benefits of studying familiar sights with fresh eyes and, perhaps, that there really is no place like home. January 21 through April 9 at the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J OBD; 44-20/7300-5610; royalacademy.uk.org.