David Hockney: A Bigger Book Available From Taschen

The colorful career of David Hockney collides in one remarkable monograph.

“We live in an age where the artist is forgotten. He is a researcher,” painter David Hockey once shared. “I see myself that way.” Should that statement be true, then Taschen’s recently released tome would be a definitive dossier of a life’s investigation.

With David Hockney: A Bigger Book (and yes, it’s quite big) 60 years of work comes together with glorious vibrancy, from his teenage days at the Bradford School of Art, through his breakthrough in 1960s Swinging London, by Los Angeles pools in the 1970s, up to his recent extensive series of portraits, iPad drawings and Yorkshire landscapes.

David Hockney, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1971, Private Collection. © David Hockney

His years in California represent a turning point in the British artist’s career, propelling him to iconic status and forever memorializing a slice of our local culture. According to Taschen’s Helen Turner, who recently visited the Hockney retrospective at London’s Tate Gallery, Hockney abandoned previously poised works and swerves toward a “a fearless use of colour and medium experimentation.” She says, “The sexy warmth of the Los Angeles swimming pool compositions seem to radiate both heat and moisture from their sun-kissed surface.”

As far back as the late 1990s, Helmut Newton and Benedikt Taschen were working on the legendary SUMO in Los Angeles when the idea arose to one day create a SUMO together with David Hockney. “How great would it be to have such a book in the same scope and detail in glorious color about Hockney, the greatest painter alive?” Benedikt thought. “Imagine someone did this back in the day, with one of the modern art masters like Matisse, Picasso or Dalí. And since David lives next door in the Hollywood Hills, I must grab this historic chance!”

Hockney himself is present in every aspect of the publication. He collaborated closely through all production stages and conceived of this book as a purely visual survey of more than 450 works prefaced by a handwritten programmatic statement. As an artist who rarely looks back, the vast volume is as much his own personal review as it is a definitive record for art lovers all over the world. “I don’t tend to live in the past,” he comments, “Working on this book, I see quite how much I have done.”

David Hockney. A Bigger Book
Edition of 9,000

—Darren Elms



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