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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2012
Please note: Amazon's note on some pages on which this review appears suggests my review is of the French edition. Sadly, I have not seen the French edition; this review is of the original English edition.

This is a sumptuous book, well justifying its meteoric rise to best-seller status on the January 2012 opening of the London Royal Academy of Arts exhibition which it served as the catalogue. [The exhibition moved on to Bilbao, Spain for May to September 2012; then to Cologne, Germany from October 2012 to January 2013.] The large, almost square format lends itself well to the several hundred full color reproductions. Some works extend across two pages, but the problem so common with art books of key features being interrupted by, or even disappearing into, the page fold seems not to occur with Hockney. Or perhaps this is just very superior book design.

Like the exhibition, the book majors on Hockney's recent work centered on a relatively small patch of England's East Yorkshire. Without abandoning his Californian base, Hockney has spent much time in recent years in East Yorkshire, observing in particular the changing seasons as reflected in the lanes, trees and fields. Hugely prolific in several media, he returns time and again to the same single-track road - a one-time Roman road, apparently - the same tunnel of trees, and some more open views across fields, tram-tracked in their season by outsize farm machinery. His painting style frequently echoes that of Van Gogh, and we are reminded that Van Gogh too produced large numbers of rustic pictures.

A photograph presented as the first of no less than seven splendid frontispieces seems to indicate that Hockney reproduces the physical features of his landscapes very much as in life. He changes perspective and color tone, but trees, hedges and gaps in hedges remain very much as they are. The detail of some subjects is given closer attention on some of his visits than on others. There is a huge amount for us to observe, and this book makes it possible to do so at leisure, over as long a period as we wish.

Whilst the book majors on recent works made in East Yorkshire, significant space is given to earlier work in Yorkshire and elsewhere, including the renowned Grand Canyon series. Not quite amounting to a retrospective, this provides a liberal setting of context. Hockney also shares with us his 2010 series based on Claude Lorrain's 1656 painting, The Sermon on the Mount; something very different, although still outdoors. And towards the end of the book we have photographs taken by Hockney (with acknowledged assistance) with banks of nine and eighteen cameras - with words of explanation by Hockney on the genesis of that project and on why nine (or 18) cameras are better than one. He surmises that the new technology will enable new kinds of narrative, as the movie camera did ninety years ago. He has of course long been one to embrace new technologies as they arrive.

Essays by Hockney's fellow Yorkshire person, the novelist Margaret Drabble (they were born less than two years apart), three eminent curators, the author of the companion volume A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney, and Tim Barringer, Professor of Art History at Yale University, complement the wealth of Hockney generated material. In all, this book puts many another best-seller in the shade. Hockney's preferred shade, we surmise, would be that of his beloved Woldgate as the trees there grow into their early summer splendor. In all its seasons, he has done Woldgate proud, and us too.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
While David Hockney lived in California he was impressed with the quality of light, constantly testing it in his paintings of the canyons and shores of Los Angeles and environs. Now that he is back in his native England he has emerged as a landscape artist as fine as any painting today. He is less concern with photorealism in the way that brilliant landscape artist Martin Greenland paints: he is more interested in the influence of shapes and relationships of plants, trees, paths, skies and clouds - his way of illuminating what we see everyday in a fresh manner that is most arresting.

The world to this point has lauded David Hockney as a figurative artist and his reputation as such will remain intact. But is refreshing to see how this artists can take on any subject - through paint and paper and canvas, print, photomontage, sketch - and each new path leads us to a deeper appreciation of his gifts. This book is beautifully designed and the commentaries are additive instead of 'compulsory'. For every lover of contemporary art this book is a necessary addition to the library. Grady Harp, March 12
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2012
I saw Mr. Hockney's exhibit in London, and I must have this book. This is not a proper book review, as I have ordered but not yet received it, but I can only hope that the book captures the delight I experienced at seeing his work in this exhibit. If it only capture a tiny fraction of what I remember, it is worth every penny.

We planned a vacation in London in large part to see this exhibit and the Lucian Freud exhibit that was showing at the same time. I was expecting to be disappointed - after all, with the expense of a trip to London for a vacation, the bar is set rather high to see something spectacular. It was nothing like I expected. I thought I would miss the boys in the swimming pools, but I quickly forgot everything I thought I knew about this artist.

I have never seen such a well organized yet intimate exhibit - David is clearly not bashful. The paintings, large and small, drew me in, and refreshed my view of the wonder in nature. I was a small boy seeing his first tadpole. He even showed his practice paintings, as I call them - works that reflected his journey rather than the destination (I hope the journey continues for some time - David, take your vitamins).

I think simple is very hard - and what David showed is, at its heart, simple. His focus, joy, and delight at transforming (take no offense) bleary English landscapes into beauty to behold was a wonder. I saw what he saw.

Perhaps I am not a sophisticated arts critic, but I love color - orange, blue, and purple, bring it on. His painting spoke to us in a language seldom heard. Yes, it was crowded with people, children, and dogs (well, no dogs). That is what most museums are like, but the exhibit was so well managed and fit for the space that we did not care. I wish I could remodel my house to make it fit his paintings in the same way David made his paintings fit this space.

Five stars, or six if they would let me.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2012
I'm extremely happy with this purchase, the book is everything I expected it to be and more. Good quality, excellent reproductions and very inspiring. Being a great fan of David Hockney's work, I'm always looking for top quality books that show the development of his talent and career as an artist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2013
all around beautiful book! from lay-out, to print, color accuracy and essays, this is one of my favorite art books ever!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2013
This is the hard cover catalogue of the David Hockney show which I saw in Cologne, October, 2012. The printing is excellent, the colors are true. A good collection of Hockney's more current work.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2013
If you like David Hockney this book is a must. Full of the beautiful colour prints of his 'Bigger Picture' show. This is a very large book so one gets some sense of the large scale of his work especially the pictures that are printed on a double page. Very faithful colour reproductions.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2012
David Hockney's Bigger Picture is an excellent catalogue of an excellent exhibition. Photos and essays both good. Nothing can reproduce the experience of the actual presence of the paintings though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2013
Fabulous book.
I grew up in Warter and this book brings back many memories of my childhood.
The colours, the images, the atmospheric views are just stunning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2014
Large reproductions with crisp clear colors. Very poor binding that won't last the years we want to enjoy having the book.
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