High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

David Hockney Shows His Love for Vincent van Gogh
© Richard Schmidt
© Richard Schmidt © Richard Schmidt

David Hockney Shows His Love for Vincent van Gogh

Upon seeing David Hockney’s paintings, it’s not difficult to see that Vincent van Gogh was a strong source of inspiration. Discover more parallels between the two artists in 'Hockney - Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature' in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The exhibition features some 120 works, including highlights from the Centre Pompidou collection, Hockney’s intimate sketchbooks and his iPad drawings.

The world-famous art of David Hockney (1937) is colourful and colossal. The British artist is inspired by nature, he makes use of bright colours and experiments with perspective. Van Gogh also dealt with this. The resemblances between the two artists are no coincidence. Vincent van Gogh was a great source of inspiration for David Hockney.

Love of nature

From the late 1990s onwards, Hockney started to return from Los Angeles to his native region: the Yorkshire Wolds in Great Britain, where he painted the characteristic countryside. These paintings, the so-called Yorkshire landscapes, reveal thorough observations of the changing four seasons, and how light, space and nature are constantly in flux.

These often imposing landscapes offer a vivid insight into Hockney’s love of nature, and show a clear link with Van Gogh’s landscapes, such as The Harvest(1888), Field with Irises near Arles (1888) and The Garden of Saint Paul’s Hospital (‘Leaf-Fall’) (1889). The stylised vertical lines of the tree trunks in the latter work by Van Gogh are analogous to the repetitive lines in Hockney’s The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire (2011).

"Out of pop art, Hockney evolved into a painter of colourful landscapes, in which the influence of Van Gogh is evident," Axel Rüger, director of the Van Gogh Museum, states. "Hockey is an artist who always successfully captures the reality of nature and the people around him, as was Van Gogh. Both artists show how nature appears to them."

Ipad Drawings

It was in the Yorkshire period that Hockney began experimenting with his iPad, using the device to create scintillating landscapes. Twenty of these iPad drawings will be displayed in large format in the exhibition, which also focuses on Hockney’s sketchbooks: individual pages will be on display, which bear an unmistakable resemblance to Van Gogh’s drawing style. The exhibition also features videos, watercolours, black-and-white drawings and prints. Photographer Rineke Dijkstra created a portrait of the artist, who is now 81 years old, especially for this exhibition.

Full of movement

David Hockney on Van Gogh: "His paintings are full of movement. What people love about Van Gogh’s paintings is that all the brush marks are visible and you can see how they are painted. When you’re drawing one blade of grass you’re looking and then you see more. And then you see the other blades of grass and you’re always seeing more. Well, that’s exciting to me and it was exciting to Van Gogh. I mean, he saw very clearly."

The exhibition Hockney – Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature is on display at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, until 26 May 2019.


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