Staying on in Paris
When I left London to come and live and work in Paris, I hadn’t the least idea of what I was going to paint. I took with me paint, frames, and canvases and set to work. I started a picture based on a drawing done in Italy. I gave it up at the end of six weeks, and went straight on to two new canvases which revealed themselves to be typically Parisian in spirit. It was obvious. I realized as a result that in the paintings and drawings I’ve done here there is much more of Paris than there is of London in all I’ve been able to do in London. The reason is simple: it is easier for me to get the necessary detachment in Paris because I don’t understand much of the French character or the language. But on the other hand, I know how to use my eyes.
Paris has been painted by so many people. By very talented artists, much greater than I am .... I want to take up the challenge, because it’s worth the trouble and I like to make life difficult for myself. If you want to paint anything worthwhile you shouldn’t be afraid of stepping up the pressure. That suits me. I’ll stay.
Shirley Goldfarb & Gregory Masurovsky
During his second year in Paris, Hockney returns to painting in oil. He is still using acrylic, however, when his makes Shirley Goldfarb & Gregory Masurovsky, a [NESTED]double-portrait of two eccentric American artists who have been living and working in Paris for decades.
I was struck by the small studios they’ve lived in for twenty years, two tiny little rooms .... Their relationship is a weird subject: he can’t go out of the building without her seeing, but she can .... To look at Shirley and Gregory in the studio, I had to remove the wall, as it were. That’s why the painting’s done as it is. The only way to get the side view of the studio is to take down the wall.
A Bigger Splash
The audience for Hockney’s paintings expands into cinemas with the release of Jack Hazan’s A Bigger Splash—“a film portrait of a painter,” in the words of Times critic David Robinson—made over three years spent observing Hockney at work, with friends, and at difficult emotional moments in his relationship with Peter Schlesinger. Robinson’s review notes [NESTED]the film’s vérité style: “Hockney’s carefully composed public face protects a very private person .... This degree of intimacy could be risky, if it were not composed into a portrait so intensely appreciative of the man as artist, the artist as man, and the style of both.” But Hockey is unsettled by its screening at the Cannes Film Festival, and only slowly grows to accept its widespread appreciation among cinemagoers internationally.
I had no idea what this film would be like .... We thought it was going to be a 25-minute blurred film with bad sound, that it would be on the Academy Cinema with a Polish version of Shakespeare. We never expected it to be two and a half hours of weeping music.
In Paris, a survey of Hockney’s paintings and drawings opens at the Musée des Arts decoratifs, located in the Palais du Louvre.
- Tableaux et dessins, Musée des Arts décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, Paris, France (Oct 11–Dec 9); catalogue.
- Drawings, Dayton's Gallery 12, Minneapolis, MN, USA (Oct 15–Nov 14); catalogue.
- Drawings, Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA (Apr 11–May 9).
- David Hockney Paintings and Drawings, Musée Des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, Paris.
- David Hockney: Drawings, Dayton’s Gallery 12, Minneapolis.
- A Bigger Splash, 106 min., directed by Jack Hazan, written by Jack Hazan and David Mingay, starring David Hockney, Peter Schlesinger, Celia Birtwell, Henry Geldzahler, Mo McDermott, John Kasmin, Ossie Clark, Gregory Evans, and many others.