Four seasons appear as if in rapid motion, captured in four giant paintings. Surrounded by the color-enhanced landscapes of David Hockney, you stand at the center of the changing nature and the passage of time.
In 2007, the Briton chose a faded format for his four-part series and made the same group of trees the main cast in spring, summer, fall and winter. He had discovered a great trio of powerful branches and sprawling crowns in his original Yorkshire hillside landscape, near Thixendale.
Famous for swimming pools
The painter, best known in California for his azure swimming pool pictures, discovered landscape painting himself when he returned to his British homeland at an advanced age. Use the old and modern masters as keywords, in terms of composition and content.
The gallery in the foyer shows how he literally took their compositional style and reinterpreted it in a stylized manner, using nearly twenty wonderful comparison pieces from Berlin’s collectibles.
Hockney’s cycle of four works on loan from the Würth Collection, as was Anthony Caro’s masterful installation The Last Judgment Sculpture.
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In fact, Hockney’s Seasons has already appeared as a guest in Berlin, in 2015 with hundreds of other works from the helix tycoon group Reinhold Würth at Martin-Gropius-Bau. Objective focus is now more successful than excess exuberance at the time. Gallery President Dagmar Hirschfelder is happy, she wants to open up more current perspectives on her venerable treasures.
Hockney’s guest performance also graces the look of the recently re-rated Rembrandt painting astonishingly. Due to current technical investigations, his “Landscape with Arched Bridge” is now considered a signature piece and is no longer just a student work.
[Gemäldegalerie, bis 10. Juli, Di-Fr 10-18 Uhr, Sa/So 11-18 Uhr]
In its humble form, the painting reveals a delicate and deep orientation of light alien to Hockney’s striking approach. The Briton, born in 1937, casually erases the color of his late works with a broad brush, emphasizing the artificiality of his concept by assembling eight canvases like a puzzle to form a natural image, thus breaking the unity of the image.
Hockney took the principle of serialism from Monet, rhythmic staplers, lines and figurines to apply paint from Vincent Van Gogh. Two valuable and lively reed drawings that the Dutchman made by fax two weeks into the show had to be replaced due to their fragility. The ink threatens to disintegrate the paper if there is too much light.
Van Gogh plunged into the rhythm of nature
In 1888, in his adopted home in Provence, Van Gogh immersed himself in the specific rhythms of local nature, choppy cornfields, and spotted grass. Hockney worked in a similar fashion, but also used photos as a model. Recently, however, the 80-plus has preferred to swap out panels and canvases for iPad and iPhone instead of new drawing tools.
Nevertheless, direct contact with nature remains his motive, just as it was for Rembrandt, Claude Lorraine and John Constable of immense influence. They are all beautifully represented here. In the web of influences swaying back and forth, a veritable fast-paced scheme of European landscape painting opens. It begins around 1450 with Piero della Francesca.
Painted by candlelight, not in front of nature
Its tree-lined biblical landscape is very similar to that of the original Tuscany. The Dutch also studied what they found on their doorsteps, in trees and hills. They used tricks to maintain the impression that they are close to nature, despite the well-organized compositions. Jacob von Ruisdael, for example, demonstrates in a very dramatic way how good strong trees are at creating an idea. Inspired by this, Thomas Gainsborough painted British trees with great influence. He worked in the studio by candlelight and not in front of nature.
Rembrandt has succeeded in creating the most famous needle-drilling tree clusters in a small format. Standing close together, the trio stand out strikingly against the bright sky: a motivating diagram of David Hockney, who knew the paper from Rembrandt’s Handbook. This is how art spreads. As the seasons changed, he revived the modified theme, inspired by the true details of nature that he discovered while driving through the area in the car.