“Spring Cannot Be Cancelled: David Hockney in Normandy”
A book group especially for art enthusiasts.
March 17, 2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm At the Museum and virtually on Zoom
“Spring Cannot Be Cancelled: David Hockney in Normandy” by Martin Gayford
Welcome to Museum Reads, the Newport Art Museum’s Art-Themed book group for adults. We meet monthly, at the Museum and virtually, for discussion, and frequently are joined by the author.
To celebrate the first inklings of spring approaching, we turn to the optimist, David Hockney.
On turning eighty, David Hockney sought out rustic tranquility for the first time: a place to watch the sunset and the change of the seasons; a place to keep the madness of the world at bay. So when Covid-19 and lockdown struck, it made little difference to life in the centuries-old Normandy farmhouse where Hockney set up a studio a year earlier, in time to paint the arrival of spring. In fact, he relished the enforced isolation as an opportunity for even greater devotion to his art.
Spring Cannot Be Cancelled is an uplifting manifesto that affirms art’s capacity to divert and inspire. It is based on a wealth of new conversations and correspondence between Hockney and art critic Martin Gayford, his long-time friend and collaborator. Their exchanges are illustrated by a selection of Hockney’s new Normandy drawings and paintings alongside works by Van Gogh, Monet, Bruegel, and others. We see how Hockney is propelled ever forward by his infectious enthusiasms and sense of wonder. A lifelong contrarian, he has been in the public eye for sixty years, yet remains entirely unconcerned by the view of critics or even history. He is utterly absorbed by his four acres of northern France and by the themes that have fascinated him for decades: light, color, space, perception, water, trees. He has much to teach us, not only about how to see . . . but about how to live.
Museum Reads Notes:
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About the Author
Martin Gayford is an art critic and art historian. He studied philosophy at the University of Cambridge, and art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London. Over three decades, he has written prolifically about art and music in a series of major biographies, as well as contributing regularly to newspapers, magazines and exhibition catalogues. In parallel with his career as an art historian, he was art critic of The Spectator magazine and The Sunday Telegraph newspaper before becoming Chief Art Critic for the international television network, Bloomberg News. He has been a regular contributor to the British journal of art criticism, Modern Painters.
His books include a study of Van Gogh and Gauguin in Arles, The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles (Little Brown, 2006), which was published in Britain and the USA to critical acclaim, and has been translated, to date, into five languages; Constable in Love: Love, Landscape, Money and the Making of a Great Painter (Penguin, 2009), a study of John Constable’s romance with Maria Bicknell and their lives between 1809 and 1816; and A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney (Thames and Hudson, 2011).
Top image: David Hockney, No. 599, 1 November 2020, iPad painting by David Hockney. Photograph: © David Hockney
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