We will inaugurate the third floor of our global headquarters with La Grande Cour, Normandy, an extraordinary exhibition of new drawings by David Hockney depicting the arrival of spring in the French countryside. This marks the first body of work created by the artist at his studio in Normandy, after which the show is titled.
In 2019, following his opening at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Hockney began working at La Grande Cour. He first saw the property on a trip to France after the unveiling of his stained-glass window at Westminster Abbey in London. Almost immediately, this new environment in Normandy inspired him to start this series of drawings. Through the use of playful and colourful marks, each drawing captures the vibrancy of Normandy's landscape during the arrival of spring and reveals Hockney's personal connection to the land. A large, twenty-four-panel panoramic drawing, La Grande Cour portrays in great detail its subject: the full grounds of the property, with its multiple buildings and landscaped with cherry, pear and apple trees, hawthorne thickets and elderflower patches. Four individual drawings, depicting each side of the 17th century house and named after the view they display: north, south, east, west, are also featured in the exhibition.
From his photographic collages to his recent paintings on hexagonal canvases, throughout his celebrated six-decade career Hockney has challenged viewers to see depicted space differently and thus real space as well. La Grande Cour, Normandy continues this quest. Thousands of vibrant marks, which become a kind of autobiography of his mark making, mix with multiple perspectives to engage the viewer's vision with the image. Hockney sees these drawings as an experience in motion, pulling the viewer into Normandy.
Beyond the studio, Hockney also drew on the non-hierarchal format of Chinese scroll paintings and the Bayeux Tapestry: an embroidery on wool thread on linen cloth nearly 230 feet long, created in England in 1077, and housed not far from his studio in Normandy. The way in which the tapestry, which depicts the everyday life in medieval Europe and the tumultuous events leading up to the Norman conquest of England-and Chinese scroll paintings-are designed to be read narratively, influenced Hockney to create drawings which encompass the passage of time. In effect, Hockney's work in La Grande Cour, Normandy unites multiple spatial and temporal experiences into single images that are in continuous dialogue with past and present moments.
A full colour catalogue with a statement by Hockney describing the process of making the drawings will be published in conjunction with the exhibition.
Press release courtesy Pace Gallery.