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Contemporary counterpoint 7. David Hockney, A Year in Normandie

13 October 2021 – 14 February 2022


David Hockney, A Year in Normandie (project), musée de l'Orangerie, 2021 / © David Hockney

"Remember that they cannot cancel spring".

Making his home the Pays d’Auge in Normandy since the beginning of 2019, the famous British painter, David Hockney, has initiated a new chapter in his artistic creation. In this time, his house, his garden and the surrounding countryside have become his favorite motifs, painted on an iPad, a technique he has been using for over ten years.

A few months earlier, at the Bayeux Museum, Hockney had been strongly influenced by the famed Bayeux Tapestry. Nearly 70 meters long, the embroidered work forms a frieze recounting the conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy, in the 11th century. Thus was born the project of depicting the arrival of spring in the form of a narrative cycle. But as soon as the cycle was begun, the France-wide lockdown was decreed in March 2020.

While the world stood still, Hockney created more than one hundred images on an iPad in the space of a few weeks. This technique allows him to get the essence of his paintings down quickly and accurately. In the manner of the impressionists, he captures the effects of light and climatic changes with dexterity, but employs a bright and luminous palette, creating compositions in juxtaposed flat tints with pop accents. The days tick by, the lockdown ends, and spring gives way to summer, fall and winter. Hockney did not just paint the spring, but an entire year.

View of David Hockney’s studio, May 2021. A Year in Normandie, 2020-21, a frieze painted on iPad, presented at the Musée de l'Orangerie from 13 October 2021 to 14 February 2022. © David Hockney

Presented in the main gallery of the Musée de l'Orangerie, A Year in Normandy will show this succession of the seasons in the form of an eighty-meter long frieze, echoing Monet’s Water Lilies. This exhibition, devoted to nature and its renewal, will be the occasion to celebrate the reunion of the Musée de l'Orangerie with the public, after long months of forced closure. It will be a compelling and unique moment of this highly anticipated artistic renewal in Paris.