David Hockney is not an artist much given to looking back, so the announcement today of a monograph documenting his 60-year career is a rare treat. A limited edition, signed, super-sized monograph (£1,750, 50cm x 70cm) containing images of more than 450 works, with a bookstand by British designer Marc Newson, is rarer still.
Aside from an introductory handwritten statement, David Hockney: A Bigger Book is a purely visual survey of Hockney’s extensive oeuvre, from his teenage years at Bradford School of Art right through to his iPad drawings and most recent series of portraits. All his well-known works are here, including A Bigger Splash, the water every bit as sparkling and turquoise as it is in the original; the uneasy double portrait Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy; and the brooding, majestic Bigger Trees Near Warter, but so too are less familiar works such as Small Interior, Los Angeles, one of a series representing the living room of Hockney’s house in the Hollywood Hills. There are also drawings, stills from multi-camera video works, photo composites, multi-perspective collages and designs for the stage.
The scale of the book, both in terms of its physical size and its scope, not only means that we are instantly immersed in Hockney’s spectacular colours, but we are also reminded of his ability to use these colours to show us the world as we experience it. Anyone who has seen a Yorkshire wood in winter, for example, will know that the skeletal trees are indeed aubergine-tinted in the sunshine.
Hockney was involved in every stage of the book’s production, but even he has been taken aback by the end result. “Working on this book, I see quite how much I have done,” he says.
The monograph is also available in four signed art editions (250 of each; £3,500), which come with a signed and numbered iPad drawing, a Marc Newson bookstand and a 680-page companion book. The limited collector’s edition of 9,000 numbered and signed copies, each with a Marc Newson bookstand, costs £1,750.