David Hockney, a refreshing and tonic work in the heart of summer

Exhibitions | Museums | Cultural events
A bigger splash David Hockney by Esprit de France.jpg
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Hôtel de la Place du Louvre
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The Centre Pompidou offers us a moment of pure visual happiness

"It took me two weeks to paint a two-second dive," David Hockney used to say of a Bigger Splash, undoubtedly his most emblematic work, portraying a diving board and a Californian pool standing out against a pink modernist house and two stylized palm trees. The scum rising from the surface of the water designs the trace of a recent dive and animates in an almost metaphysical way the heat that seems to imbue this vision of California. This painting, which is part of a series of “pool paintings” painted in the mid-sixties, conveys not only a pop-like style, but also the fantasy of a hedonistic and sexually tolerant California which was then very often associated with the artist.

The large retrospective presented today by the Centre Pompidou, as the painter is celebrating his 80th birthday, offers a complete panorama of his work which is far from being limited to the Californian paintings that marked his beginnings. It shows that while David Hockney has created images that bear witness to our times and are now part of our collective inconscious, he has sought to reconcile both legacies of Picasso and Matisse and Abstraction with Figuration. In addition, he has constantly renewed his pictorial techniques, going even so far as using the i-pad for a new mastering of the drawing achieved directly on the screen. While remaining in the fields that are specific to painting, David Hockney has constantly reinvented his style and produced "an art of balance, purity, tranquility" (Matisse) always giving the sensation of a cheerful and easy-going spontaneity.

At the end of your exhibition tour, which will certainly be experienced as a moment of pure visual happiness, you may be willing to sit at the museum's "Georges" restaurant (in homage to Georges Pompidou, the French president who built the Center bearing his name) which offers a unique view of Paris. or you may wish to follow the Seine down to the Eiffel Tower to enjoy a cool moment in a traditional French quality restaurant, La Fontaine de Mars, where Barack Obama made quite a sensation when he had dinner there in 2009.