When describing how Van Gogh has inspired him, and whose work Hockney has long admired, “ his paintings are full of movement,” he said. “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.”
Though Hockney himself has referenced Van Gogh as an inspiration, museums have not explored this connection in depth—until now.
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 reveal thorough observations of the changing four seasons and offer a vivid insight into Hockney’s love of nature. There’s a clear link with Van Gogh’s landscapes, such as The Harvest, Field with Irises near Arles and The Garden of Saint Paul’s Hospital (‘Leaf-Fall’).
“Hockney is one of the most inspirational artists of our time.” Says Axel Rüger, Director of the Van Gogh Museum. “Out of pop art, he evolved into a painter of colorful landscapes, in which the influence of Van Gogh is evident. Hockney 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.”
Hockney once said of Van Gogh: “The world is colorful. It is beautiful, I think. Nature is great. Van Gogh worshipped nature. He might have been miserable, but that doesn’t show in his work. There are always things that will try to pull you down. But we should be joyful in looking at the world.”