Landscapes in Dialogue: David Hockney at Gemäldegalerie
As an important contributor to the pop art movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. He’s also one of the topmost expensive living artists of our time. David Hockney’s series Three Trees Near Thixendale are on show at the Gemäldegalerie through 10th of July.
Photo by: David Hockney, Three Trees near Thixendale, Winter, 2007. Richard Schmidt
It seems that only a handful of artists these days paint things that are straightforward beautiful. With everything that is happening in the art world today – experimentation of forms and formats, materials and technology – it’s simply not the goal of the artists anymore. The beauty of Hockney’s paintings was so a century or two ago. But David Hockney continues to stay true to his ideas and creating traditionally beautiful landscapes, even though often on his iPad.
He and his longtime partner, Jean-Pierre Gonçalves de Lima, have been living in Normandy in the past three years, where, during the pandemic, an 84 year old artist created his newest and largest to date painting (95 m) A Year in Normandy inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry. He’s already in the beginning stages of a new project, a series of portraits on canvas.
Berlin has plenty to offer when it comes to Hockney’s works in various museum collections. But a new exhibition in the Wandelhalle of the Berlin Gemäldegalerie places Hockney's monumental landscape cycle Three Trees Near Thixendale (on loan from Würth Collection) in relation to selected landscapes from other collections in Berlin. The gallery compares Hockney’s seemingly childlike paintings with the works of the more classical Dutch and old English landscapists, such as Constable, providing an insight into the diversity and richness of the genre of landscape painting, which in our time experienced a come-back because of Hockney.
The subjects of Hockney’s paintings were captured by the artist near the English village Thixendale. The artist painted the same three trees in both 2008 and 2009 and decided to give this particular trio of trees the space across eight canvases, each of them spanning about five meters. Every set of canvases shows a classic variation of the trees during each season. Ironically, Thixendale has only around 180 citizens, but the residents of the tiny village in recent years experienced major waves of visitors from all over, hoping to find the inspiration behind the painting Three Trees.
We hope you, too, will be inspired by the beauty of nature in any season when visiting the exhibition at the Gemäldegalerie. Information about the tickets can be found here.
If you are interested in learning more about David Hockney, we recommend A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney by art critic Martin Gayford, where he combines a decade of personal conversations, essays and anecdotes in his study of the artist. There’s also A Bigger Book from Taschen, a colorful 500-pages collection of Hockney’s works.