David Hockney in Aix-en Provence: such unique vitality!

Exhibitions | Cultural events

Aix-en-Provence, home to Paul Cézanne, is putting on a host of top-notch events to start the Art season with the Yves Klein exhibition at the Hôtel de Caumont a retrospective of famous British artist David Hockney’s work at the Musée Granet. The latter marks the end of a European tour (Brussels, Vienna and Lucerne) and includes 100 works on loan from the London Tate and a few private collections. Nine sections retrace the exceptional artist’s career, from the mid-1950s up to today as he continues to create and is still a lesson of modernity at the grand age of 85!

He questioned subjects and pictural conventions in his work right from the start of his time at the Royal College of Art. Highly coded allusions to his homosexuality and penchant for male beauty were hidden in his works – as homosexuality only became legal in the UK in 1967- and he applied himself to showing that anything can be a subject and style can be infinitively varied: Tea Painting in an Illusionistic Style representing a box of Ty-Phoo tea or The First Marriage combining a pseudo-Egyptian figure with a modern figure are examples of his stylistic research.

Off to Los Angeles in 1964, the place to be at the time due to the city’s moral freedom, luminosity and outdoor life. He painted the famous Pool series there (some of the series is part of the exhibition) as well as his highly successful, carefully staged, real-life double portraits of friends and acquaintances.

The 1980s were his most productive years, revealing a new focus on exploring the different realities of 3D space. His fascination for technical and visual experimentation illustrates his limitless creativity - the Moving Focus series with reversed perspectives or representing several angles simultaneously in particular.He started using digital photography in juxtaposition to continue experimenting, resulting in massive compositions in the early 2000s. Landscapes became his preferred iconographic theme, from the Yorkshire dales to Normandy where he spent lockdown.The iPad screen has become his sketch book as his fascination for new techniques and technology knows no bounds. Nowadays he alternates between painting and digital productions, using sophisticated, yet naïf colours revealing his true ageless personality!

Prolong the magic of Hockney’s sharp colours by following in Paul Cézanne’s footsteps around the enchanting gardens at the Hôtel du Pigonnet. Perspectives revealing lush vegetation, trickling fountains, mysterious statues and pathways edged with majestic trees leading to secret groves make up the unique overall charm to enjoy while dining in the restaurant’s bright dining hall with large arcades opening onto the gardens, or outside as soon as the warm weather returns. La Table du Pigonnet is highly reputed and currently run by Chef Thierry Balligand whose dedication to cooking and flavour accuracy is a tangible delight!