Le Parc des Sources, Vichy

Retrospective at Whitechapel Gallery

Hockney’s young career is celebrated with a retrospective at Whitechapel Gallery in London that opens in early April and subsequently travels to multiple venues across Europe. Hockney himself makes the selection of works—covering the previous ten years, with 45 paintings, 47 drawings, and the complete graphic works—but avoids overseeing their installation.

Savings and Loan Building, 1967
Four Different Kinds of Water
Still Life with Figure and Curtain

I was away in France, with Christopher Isherwood, and we came back the day before the exhibition opened and went to the opening like everybody else; so it was a surprise to me. I must admit, just a few days before we came back, I began to think, "Oh my God, all those early pictures which I haven’t seen in ten years are going to look terrible; I’m going to be really embarrassed by them" .... When I saw them, though, I thought, they do stand up; they’re not that bad. I began to see for the first time the way things worked, the way my mind was working. I’d never been able to stand outside it before. I could see the way things progressed, how I’d taken one aspect of a painting and developed it in other pictures so that it changed quite visibly; it was the consistency that surprised me .... It’s a shock and you see all the faults, but you see the virtues too. Usually all you ever have in your studio is, at the very most, perhaps a year’s work.

Le Parc des Sources, Vichy

Hockney plans the composition of Le Parc des Sources, Vichy, which shows Peter Schlesinger and Ossie Clark sitting together in a manicured park—their backs turned, an empty chair beside them—by referencing [NESTED] photographs and sketches he made on site in 1969. But the effect of the exaggerated one-point perspective is far from realistic, and on the whole the double-portrait is oddly distancing. 

There’s a strong surrealist element in the painting because of the use of the false perspective, which is really what interested me. The actual trees there form a triangle, not an alley just disappearing into the distance.

There’s a strong surrealist element in the painting because of the use of the false perspective, which is really what interested me. The actual trees there form a triangle, not an alley just disappearing into the distance.

Le Parc des Sources, Vichy, 1970
Hockney, Clark and Mo McDermott in Le Parc des Sources, Vichy

Vichy is a very pretty town with a park in the middle, a kind of formal garden, and they use this false perspective of trees to make it look longer than it really is. And I thought, it’s marvelous, the whole thing is like a sculpture.

I wanted to set the three chairs up for the three of us … then I’d get up to paint the scene. That’s why the empty chair is there—the artist has had to get up to do the painting. It’s like a picture within a picture; I was going to call it Painting within Painting, like Play within a Play. That gives it the strong surrealist overtones.

Hockney painting "Le Parc des Sources, Vichy"
Preparatory photographs for Le Parc des Sources, Vichy
Harrison Birtwistle
Wayne. Carennac
Mark Glazebrook



  • Paintings, Prints and Drawings, 1960–1970, Whitechapel Gallery, London (Apr 2–May 3); travels to Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover (May 22–Jun 21); Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam (Jul 25–Aug 29); and Muzej Savremene Umetnosti, Belgrade (Sep 18–Oct 15); catalogue with a text by Mark Glazebrook and an interview with David Hockney, London: Lund Humphries; German edition edited by Wieland Schmied, texts by Günther Gercken and Heiner Bastian.
  • David Hockney, Galerie Springer, Berlin (May 25–Jun 25); catalogue.
  • Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm and Other New Etchings, André Emmerich Gallery, New York (Oct 31–Dec 3).
  • Das graphische Werk, Galerie Der Spiegel, Cologne (Nov–Dec).
  • Recent Drawings, Kasmin Limited, London (opens Dec 9).
  • Six Fairy Tales, Galleria Milano (opens Dec 11).
  • David Hockney, Lane Gallery, Bradford.


  • Image/Dessin: Animation, Recherché, Confrontation, Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris (Jan 16–Feb 15); catalogue.
  • Narrative Painting in Britain in the 20th Century, Camden Arts Centre, London (Feb 10–Mar 8); catalogue.
  • Contemporary British Art, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (Sep 9–Oct 25); catalogue.
  • British Painting and Sculpture, 1960–1970, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (Nov 12, 1970–Jan 3, 1971); catalogue.



  • Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm with Original Etchings by David Hockney, London: Petersburg Press in association with Kasmin Limited.



  • David Hockney’s Diaries, 28 min., directed by Christian and Michael Blackwood.