Fine Art Connoisseur was honored to be invited to celebrate with the legendary David Hockney on the artist’s 80th birthday at the Getty Museum Center in Los Angeles.
By Vanessa Françoise Rothe
Two exhibitions are on view: “Self-Portraits,” curated by Julian Brooks of the Getty, and a clever grouping of Hockney’s mosaic photography. Of particular interest to Fine Art Today readers is the “Self Portraits” exhibition, which ranges from Hockney’s painting of his 17-year-old self in school to recent self-portraits created with the pen tool on a computer. Of special note are his mid-career graphite works and a fine watercolor. The exhibition features a selection of self-portraits made over a span of 65 years.
As the gallery text notes, “Laced with wit and sensitivity, these works — created for Hockney’s own interest
and not for sale — display an intense scrutiny of his features over time.” Hockney, the museum notes, was not at first interested in doing self-portraits, but after seeing works in his travels — such as Rembrandt’s self-portraits and that artist’s studies of his features in different states, happy and sad, mouth open in astonishment — Hockney began to show interest. The show portrays not only different stages in his art career, but his ever-changing use of mediums as well, from graphite, to watercolors, to modern day renditions using an iPad; this small but interesting exhibition underscores his experimentation.
The evening was a celebration of the artist with not only friends and some reporters, but patrons of the museum who took the time to come and support Hockney’s works, career, and the arts in general. The Getty, shining as always as a beacon in the hills in Los Angeles, is proud to represent a very fine collection ranging from Rembrandt — interesting to see the influence on Hockney of those works in the next building — to Alma-Tadema, to Van Gogh, as well as some of the contemporary artists who have been influenced by the masters. Getty Director Timothy Potts aims to continue in this vein of linking the permanent fine art collection to new and informative exhibitions and has an exciting year planned ahead.