Menu Icon


| Grand Auctions

David Hockney at the Royal Academy

I went to the Royal Academy early on a Monday morning to find a long queue waiting to gain entrance to the Hockney Exhibition – at 9.30 in the morning! Fortunately, being a member, I was able to join a very short queue, which moved very rapidly with the assistance of the charming and helpful staff employed by the RA, they really are very welcoming. My first surprise was the electronically operated coat stand in the cloakroom, very technologically advanced. The exhibition itself was a tribute to the energy and drive of David Hockney, hardly a youngster. The sheer scale and size of individual canvases was amazing.

Extraordinary video

The further I wandered round the large spacious galleries, and what a joy it is to have space to view paintings, the more I felt I was seeing art of different ages, some from the early 1900s Fauvist period, a few like Stanley Spencer and so on. The exhibition was becoming rather repetitive, when the day was saved by an extraordinary video room. There was a huge screen made up of 18 large panels that were mostly interconnected. We were taken on a stunning journey through the English countryside in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter with the tops of trees slightly askew from the trunks. It sounds ridiculous, but was very effective.

Gyrating young men

Then suddenly the video changed to some young men gyrating round a room, dancing and tap dancing to the accompaniment of a piano. How suitable for Hockney, I thought. Suddenly a young woman joined them in the dance routines. The session ended with an amusing finale.

More drawings please

Any one man exhibition has its hazards, only a few can carry off such a grand concept as the scale of the Royal Academy exhibition. I left remembering the video, but cannot really recall many of the paintings - Hockney’s paintings were simply not good or varied enough to warrant such an exhibition. Oh that there had been more drawings, Hockney is such a master of this medium.

Click here to contact Jonathan Riley, paintings specialist at Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent.