Monday, 20 September 2021

Hockney show is bound to make a splash

A RARE chance to see David Hockney’s early work in the flesh is on offer at Henley’s River

A RARE chance to see David Hockney’s early work in the flesh is on offer at Henley’s River and Rowing Museum from tomorrow (Saturday).

Acclaimed as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, the 78-year-old Hockney is today regarded by many as the greatest living British painter.

Famous for his images of Californian pools, celebrity portraits and iPad landscapes, Hockney’s creative output is diverse and long-standing, oscillating between his native Yorkshire, the Hollywood Hills and beyond.

A specially curated exhibition, David Hockney: from the beginning explores the early years of the artist’s career and features work brought together from the collections of the Arts Council, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal College of Art.

Housed in the museum’s Kirkham Gallery, the show explores Hockney’s discovery of self, his exploration of new themes and styles and his evolution from art student to professional artist.

The artist has said of his formative years: “When you’re young, you suddenly find this marvellous freedom. It’s quite exciting, and you’re prepared to do anything.”

During 1961 to 1974 Hockney moved from the UK to the US and it was in this period that he truly developed the style that has come to define him.

Works on display will include his evocative We Two Boys Together Clinging and Jack Hazan’s 1973 film A Bigger Splash — a fictionalised documentary about and starring Hockney and his circle.

The exhibition examines a number of themes from Hockney’s early work, including love, water, and people.

The “Love” paintings from the early Sixties show the artist’s early explorations of his homosexuality, while the influence of travel and place are evident in works such as Water Pouring into Swimming Pool, Santa Monica (1964) and Untitled Study for a Painting (1967), both from the collection of the V&A.

Also on show will be a number of iconic photographic portraits of Hockney, including work by Cecil Beaton and Dmitri Kasterine.

Eloise Chapman, head of collections and exhibitions at the River and Rowing Museum, said: “We are very excited to give our visitors the opportunity to see David Hockney’s work in Henley.

“Bringing together work from collections around the world, this is a unique exploration of the early career of one of our most iconic and well-loved British artists.

“I hope our visitors will enjoy diving a little deeper into the origins of Hockney’s artistic style.”

David Hockney: from the beginning is open daily from 10am to 5pm at the museum in Mill Meadows and continues until Sunday, May 22.

Free guided tours will take place on Saturday, March 12, and Saturday, April 23.

Annual entry to the River and Rowing Museum is £9 for children aged four to 16, £10 for senior citizens and £11 for adults.

For more information, call (01491) 415600 or visit

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