Charles Darwent

Making a Splash

Hockney: The Biography, Volume II

By

Century 448pp £25 order from our bookshop

I wonder if David Hockney has painted Christopher Sykes? It would be easy enough to imagine the result if so. The jacket photo on this second volume of Sykes’s life of Hockney – like the first, labelled ‘the’ biography – shows the author as full-faced and rubicund, a look that lends itself to his subject’s cartoony line and florid palette. As to Sykes’s portrait of Hockney, it is as colourful, though less stylish.

Given Hockney’s addiction to style, this might have been a good thing. Some artists are blessed with facility, others cursed by it. Picasso, Hockney’s hero, falls into the first category: he could do anything, easily and as it hadn’t been done before. The book opens with a Picasso epigram – ‘I never do a painting as a work of art, all of them are researches’ – and the Spaniard reappears throughout this book as the chief source of Hockney’s inspiration.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,