David Hockney

1937 (Bradford (Royaume-Uni))
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David Hockney is to the West what Hokusai and Owon are to the Far East: an old man mad about drawing and a reveller drunk with painting, who changes his style as often as he changes his skill with the same ease as the two Japanese and Korean masters. "Style is only a tool says the Englishman with a thousand faces. Picasso could master all styles. The lesson for me is that you have to use them all. I realised that stylistic rigidity is more than a useless worry: it's a veritable trap." Demonstrating his rich versatility by borrowing his vocabulary from whomever he pleases and feeding his ways of painting with photographs, photocopies or graphic tablets, this thief of fire has made painting a joyful act of resistance, which manages to embrace the whole world in his palette, as if he were responding to the rallying cry of the American poet Walt Whitman: "Joy! Joy! All over Joy!" This art of joy, reconciling and popular, may well be based on Duccio's gothic vision, the animation without a single perspective of Chinese scrolls, Ingres' probity of drawing, Matisse's intense colour, Dufy's good humour, Picasso's multiplied optics and Bacon's gay pride, but the hedonistic modernity of this radical classic has sometimes aroused ire and doubt. Wrongly so.

Portrait :
David Hockney, Los Angeles, mars 2016.
© David Hockney / Credit Photo: Jean-Pierre Gonçalves de Lima

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