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David Hockney: The Biography, 1937-1975 Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 17, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The timing couldn't be better for this enjoyable and well-sourced book, which — like Hockney's own work — is both conversational and perceptive."
Los Angeles Times

"An entertaining and intimate biography which leaves no aspect of the artist's life unexplored."
Associated Press

“What Mr. Sykes does best in these pages is capture Mr. Hockney’s almost preternatural love of making images, his passion for art, which dates to his earliest childhood ... Mr. Sykes offers some fascinating accounts of the evolution of certain well-known Hockney paintings and in doing so, traces the autobiographical impulses in Mr. Hockney’s work, his peregrinations from London to Paris to Los Angeles, his frank embrace of homosexual themes and his relationships with family, friends and lovers.”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Fluid, entertaining....Meticulously researched, Sykes's account is a pleasure to read."
The New Yorker

"To read Christopher Simon Sykes' David Hockney is to marvel at the artistic gifts of the eccentric Yorkshireman who rose from a sometimes pinched childhood to hobnob with poet Stephen Spender and novelist Christopher Isherwood, to party with Mick Jagger and Manolo Blahnik."
The Plain Dealer

"Sykes' writing has a real raconteurial flair ... Along with Hockney's personal successes and travails, Sykes pays close attention to the art. He takes you inside Hockney's head, noting the artist's dissatisfaction with even some of his most highly regarded paintings and recording Hockney's thoughts on such artistic challenges as painting water."
The Seattle Times

"Energetic, absorbing ... Sykes skillfully integrates Hockney’s private history with his public, artistic life to provide unusual insight into both his emotional and professional life."
Publishers Weekly

"Intimate, vivid ... A personal, lively look at this extraordinary artist’s career. Readers will eagerly await the second volume."
Kirkus Reviews

“Lively and lavishly detailed. . . . Sykes’ portrait knits Hockney’s life and work together in perceptive and substantiated ways. Charismatic and funny, gregarious, inquisitive, phenomenally skilled and inventive, and forthright about his homosexuality, young Hockney embraced every opportunity to go somewhere new and try something different. And his prismatic, autobiographical, and provocative paintings, prints, and stage designs evolved accordingly during his sojourns in London, New York, Los Angeles, and Paris. Sykes profiles Hockney’s mentors, friends, and lovers—a veritable who’s who of the art world and high society—analyzes his influences and innovations, and ends on a high note.”
—Booklist

"Prodigiously entertaining."
Financial Times

“A chatty, knowledgeable, insider's biography, full of anecdotes.”
The Guardian
 
“Christopher Simon Sykes is quick to blow away the cobwebs in his biography, the first of two volumes, pointing to Hockney's trailblazing status. This is…an exhaustive and authoritative telling of the Hockney story.”
The Independent
 
“Certainly the most moving and amusing account of the most popular British artist of the 20th century. [David Hockney] bounces along as the rebellious, eccentric, funny artist discovers sex, then London, and so on to fame and fortune, via California. Sykes elicits marvellous background details and anecdotes… The wit, energy and magical talent of Hockney to use whatever happens to him to his purpose and for humour are shown on almost every page.”
London Evening Standard

About the Author

CHRISTOPHER SIMON SYKES is a photographer and writer. He specializes in architectural and garden photography and writes on architecture and social history. Sykes worked with Eric Clapton on his autobiography, Clapton, and his work has appeared in publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Town & Country, and Architectural Digest. He lives with his wife and daughter in North London.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Nan A. Talese; 1st edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385531443
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385531443
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Last year British art giants Lucien Freud and Richard Hamilton died and with that event the crown of reigning king of British art passed to David Hockney. As the LA Times states, `Although the cultivated image of a dandified English schoolboy in white pants, mismatched socks, polka-dot bow tie and beanie is long out of date for an artist who, at 74, is identified with iconic 1960s paintings of Los Angeles swimming pools, the thought is a bit of a shock. Still, the timing couldn't be better for this enjoyable and well-sourced book, which -- like Hockney's own work -- is both conversational and perceptive.'

This handsome and informative Part I of a two part biography covers the years 1937 to 1975 and in the able hands of writer Christopher Simon Sykes this stage of Hockney's life is presented in detail, both in information about his personal life and his development as an artist.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love David Hockney's work. I can only afford posters. But I jumped at chance to buy and read this book. It was very well-written and very concise. But imagine my surprise when it ended in 1975. Since I didn't discover his works until 1987, I was very disappointed. Then I saw that this is the first in what I hope will be a series, bringing us up to date on one of the most innovative artists of the 20th-21st centuries. I hope the second volume is not far behind in publication. I look forward to it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is a bit over-detailed. Some editing would have made it easier to get through. I did enjoy the descriptions of his early life, descriptions of his art techniques, and the interesting people he came in contact with. A good story and introduction to one of the most fascinating contemporary artists.
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This is a wonderful, evocative and delightful read. I can't wait for the second volume. In true Hockney style, I read it via the Kindle app on my iPad and was able to view all the artwork mentioned via Google Images and to watch part of the movie about Hockney on YouTube. Art and technology fused - an absolutely fabulous experience.
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Useful and complex book - helps to understand power of Hockney's creativity. Must read to understand his art better.
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