Hockney at the Orangerie

Well, I don’t seem to be having much luck with art exhibitions. I was unable to see the Vivian Maier photo expo at the Musée de Luxembourg last week, and on Monday I couldn’t get into the Musée de l’Orangerie to see the Hockney expo (long, long lines).

A Year in Normandie, David Hockney exhibition at the Musée de l’Orangerie in the Tuileries Gardens.

Revered as one of Great Britain’s most influential artists and a pioneer of the 1960s pop art movement, Hockney is an English painter, draftsman, printmaker, stage designer, and photographer.

He has owned residences and studios in Bridlington, London and Normandy, as well as two residences in California, where he has lived intermittently since 1964: one in the Hollywood Hills, and one in Malibu. In 2018, Hockney’s 1972 work Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) sold at Christie’s auction house in New York City for $90 million to an anonymous purchaser, becoming the most expensive artwork by a living artist sold at auction.

Hockney is a hedonist painter. His pictures are about enjoyment. His pursuit of life, liberty and happiness first expressed itself in unabashed portrayals of gay desire, at a time when homosexuality was a crime in Britain. But his paintings of his LA friends, such as the writer Christopher Isherwood, of swimming pools and swimmers, of men in showers, are not just records of his life; they are poetic rhapsodies of colour and light. It is through the white spume of a diver’s splash, against dark blue water under a light blue sky, that he expresses longing, love, the moment held. “California has a very clear light. You can see 100 miles sometimes. It’s very, very clear and that’s what I loved about it.” (source The Guardian, May 10, 2021, Jonathan Jones article)

His residence in Normandy from 2019 was intended for him to paint the local landscape, which he has done prolifically using both paint and iPad.

David Hockney takes over the Musée de l’Orangerie from 13 October 2021 to 14 February 2022 with an 80-metre long fresco that tells us about the tireless cycle of nature and the long-awaited arrival of spring in his adopted Normandy.

Below, Hockney as a young man and Hockney today:

four art exhibitions to see in London

William Eggleston at the National Portrait Gallery

Self-taught and never having to work for a living, Eggleston was born into a family of wealthy cotton planters in Memphis, Tennessee in 1939. He is a pioneering American photographer renowned for his vivid, poetic and mysterious images. This exhibition of 100 works surveys Eggleston’s full career from the 1960s to the present day and is the most comprehensive display of his portrait photography ever. 


Kids sitting on the bumper, idling in the backyard, hanging on to their beer bottles in the nightclub; the hippy chick and the Updike housewife, the rheumy-eyed pastor and the southern belle at 80, still swinging girlishly on her porch. Eggleston is the Thornton Wilder of the lens, his portraits a growing community of figures as familiar, almost, as the cast of Wilder’s Our Town except that their story will never be resolved.

Etel Adnan at The Serpentine Galleries


Located in Kensington Gardens, Central London, The Serpentine Galleries presents the works of painter, essayist and poet Etel Adnan, who was born in 1925 in Beirut, Lebanon. In her first solo exhibition in a UK public institution, the Serpentine shows work from across her career and including paintings, drawings, poetry, film and tapestry.


Adnan is a prolific author and politically engaged artist who addresses issues of identity, displacement and memory, working across different continents and languages. She wrote a novel about the Lebanese Civil War and a book of poems about The Arab Apocalypse. She has also addressed the more recent conflicts and aggressions in the Arab world. In her visual art, central themes range from alienation and war to poetic expression and imaginary landscapes.


David Hockney at The Royal Academy

Though Hockney’s mastery and energy are never in doubt, his show of portraits sees likeness and personality often sacrificed to surface detail.


The wild beauty of Georgia O’Keeffe at The Tate Modern

O’Keeffe’s paintings are often seen as displays of flamboyant female sexuality. But a broader reading of her art suggests that it came from the life of a new kind of woman.