David Hockney, Woldgate Woods, 6 & 9 November 2006 (2006) (detail). Oil on 6 canvases. 72 x 144 inches overall. © David Hockney. Photo: Richard Schmidt.
Hockney–Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature is unabashedly a David Hockney (b. 1937) exhibition but with a twist, it winds the modern master's works around his lifelong fascination with Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). It's a daring pairing, and as Edwin Becker, Head of Exhibitions at the Van Gogh Museum, told me, 'It's the first time we've dedicated our whole special exhibition wing to a contemporary artist. We primarily put Van Gogh into context with his contemporaries and friends, but we were influenced by Hockney's strong connection with Van Gogh—not just his paintings and drawings—but his mentality and subjects.'
One would expect few Hockney surprises since his three 2017 blockbuster collaborative retrospectives at the Met, Centre Pompidou, and Tate Britain. But this exhibition of his late Yorkshire landscapes ambush that thought as soon you enter the first gallery space where nine splendid mural-sized Hockney paintings hang on yellow, violet, brick-red and white walls.