David Hockney co-authors uplifting book during spring lockdown

David Hockney

Image courtesy of Thames & Hudson

LONDON – On turning eighty, David Hockney sought out rustic tranquility for the first time: a place to watch the sunset and the change of the seasons, a place to live a life of simple pleasures, undisturbed and undistracted; a place to keep the madness of the world at bay. So, when COVID-19 and lockdown struck, it made little difference to life at La Grande Cour, the centuries-old Normandy farmhouse where Hockney set up a studio a year earlier, in time to paint the arrival of spring. In fact, he relished the enforced isolation as an opportunity for even greater devotion to his art.

“I intend to carry on with my work, which I now see as very important. We have lost touch with nature rather foolishly as we are a part of it, not outside it.” David Hockney 

The book Spring Cannot be Cancelled: David Hockney in Normandy (Thames & Hudson, release date: April 27, 2021) is an uplifting manifesto that affirms art’s capacity to divert and inspire. It is based on a wealth of new conversations and correspondence between Hockney and art critic Martin Gayford, his long-time friend and collaborator. Their exchanges are illustrated by a selection of Hockney’s new Normandy drawings and paintings, many previously unpublished, alongside works by van Gogh, Monet, Bruegel, and others.

In this book, we see how Hockney is propelled ever forward by his infectious enthusiasms and sense of wonder. A lifelong contrarian, he has been in the public eye for sixty years yet remains entirely unconcerned by the view of critics or even history. He is utterly absorbed by his four acres of northern France and by the themes that have fascinated him for decades: light, color, space, perception, water, trees. He has much to teach us, not only about how to see … but about how to live.

Spring Cannot be Cancelled: David Hockney in Normandy (ISBN: 9780500094365) contains 280 pages and 142 illustrations. The hardcover book will retail for $34.95. Click to pre-order.

About David Hockney

David Hockney is perhaps the most critically acclaimed artist of our age. He has produced work in almost every medium and has stretched the boundaries of all of them. His books include the bestselling Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters, as well as A Bigger Message and A History of Pictures in partnership with Martin Gayford.

About Martin Gayford

Martin Gayford is art critic for The Spectator. His books include Modernists & MavericksMan with a Blue ScarfA Bigger Message and A History of Pictures (with David Hockney), Rendez-vous with Art (with Philippe de Montebello), The Pursuit of Art, and most recently Shaping the World: Sculpture from Pre-History to Now (with Antony Gormley).

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