Famed British artist David Hockney is giving up Los Angeles after 55 years for Normandy, France, to live out the rest of his days.
‘I can do twice as much work there, three times as much,’ Hockney tells the Wall Street Journal of leaving the city that made him famous in the 1960s. ‘I’ve probably not much time left and because I don’t, I value it even more.’
It’s there in his new home, which he bought on a whim last year after seeing it for just 25 minutes, that the 82-year-old created his latest work inspired by the view from his Normandy house to be showcased this fall in Manhattan.
‘I’d like to just work and paint,’ he says. ‘And to be able to smoke and eat in a restaurant at the same time. Thank God for Normandy. The French know how to live. They know about pleasure.’
British artist David Hockney has moved from Los Angeles after 55 yearsto Normandy, France, to live out the rest of his days
‘I’ve smoked for more than 60 years,’ he tells the Wall Street Journal, and says he’s moving to France to ‘be able to smoke and eat in a restaurant at the same time’
Last year Hockney’s 1972 painting soared to $90.3million at Christie’s, smashing the record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a work by a living artist.
The previous record for a work by a living artist was held by Jeff Koons’ sculpture Balloon Dog, which sold for $58.4million in 2013. Hockney’s previous auction record was $28.4million.
‘I’m 82. How much longer do I have? I’m going to die of either a smoking-related illness or a non–smoking-related illness,’ he says
Now Hockney will be showing new work at Pace Gallery’s Manhattan flagship this fall.
His immersive 24-panel panorama and four additional drawings will depict the arrival of spring in Normandy as seen from his new home, called La Grande Cour (The Big Yard).
‘I fell in love with it’, he says of the home.
It took Hockney 21 days to complete and will show his new property in detail – depicting the 1650s structure’s cherry, pear and apple tree grounds.
‘These works emphasize Hockney’s ability to unite multiple spatial and temporal experiences of a place into a single image,’ the Pace Gallery website reads.
The work is inspired by traditional Chinese scroll painting, contemporary time-based art, and the medieval Bayeux Tapestry.
These new works showcase Hockney’s continued experimentation with the representation of space.
‘The dots took a long time to do,’ Hockney told the Wall Street Journal. ‘It was getting a little tedious at the end, but I was engrossed and I loved it.’
Hockney described his relaxing routine in Normandy: waking up early to watch then sun rise, then in the studio working all morning.
At midday, he says he breaks for a four-course lunch – his only meal of the day- at a nearby cafe that costs just 13 euro.
He says he sometimes takes a nap and then will work into the evenings.
The 82-year-old created his latest work inspired by the view from his Normandy house to be showcased this fall in Manhattan at Pace Gallery (pictured)
The Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) painting, which belongs to billionaire Spurs owner Joe Lewis, broke all records for a living artist after selling for $90.3 million last year
‘His respect for art history is enormous,’ Stephanie Barron tells the Wall Street Journal. She is senior curator of modern art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and organized the museum’s 2018 exhibition David Hockney: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life.
‘This is an artist who reads and looks with deep intensity and intellectualism and curiosity. He studies the work of the masters: Manet, Monet, Rembrandt [and] Picasso, who he’s been in dialogue with for life. He has engaged art historians in serious discussions about perspective and technique.’
Hockney says he doesn’t care for fame. ‘I have the vanity of an artist. I want my work to be seen. But I don’t have to be seen.’
He says he wants to keep a third to a half of his works for himself. The Normandy drawings will remain in his personal collection.
‘Sometimes I decide to keep what I consider to be the best ones,’ he says. ‘I’m not sure what to do with [the collection] yet. I’ll probably give it away to museums.’
And as for leaving the city that made him famous years ago, he says Americans have become too censorious about smoking and that is something he will never give up.
‘I’ve smoked for more than 60 years,’ he says. ‘But I think I’m quite healthy. I’m 82. How much longer do I have? I’m going to die of either a smoking-related illness or a non–smoking-related illness.’