The avantgarde artist’s retrospective in Aix-en-Provence is set to break all visitor records.

After Brussels, Vienna, and Lucerne, the honour of closing out the current exhibition circuit of David Hockney’s unique retrospective of œuvres goes to Musée Granet , the landmark museum in Aix-en-Provence reputed for the exceptional quality of its shows. Spreading out over 700 m², 103 of the British painter’s works are on display, most of them on loan from the London Tate Gallery and complemented with a small selection of loans from private collections. After a hugely successful run since its opening on January 28, the exhibition is closing on May 28.

Organised into nine thematic and loosely chronological sections, the parcours traces Hockney’s career from the mid-1950s to the present day. From promising student pieces to iconic images that have secured his place as one of our greatest living artists, the exhibition sheds light on Hockney’s unique journey and the many different ways in which he has engaged with differing modes of visual perception and the way we look at the world.

One of the exhibition’s highlights is the famous self-portrait of the artist in his studio, surrounded by old and recent works, and composed of 3,000 digital photographs assembled into a photographic drawing. The painting gives the impression of a focal point moving in three dimensions, reinforcing Hockney’s belief that if a viewer is mobile, the image which results must also reflect several points of view.

David Hockey 'In the Studio December 2017'

David Hockey – ‘In the Studio December 2017’

After the pandemic-related gloom and doom of preceding years, the City of Aix-en-Provence wished to feature an artistic celebration of life and colours and to show what is possible if you consistently develop and push boundaries. And Hockney’s vibrant and relatable work, as well as his constant development, perfectly fitted the ask. “What better place to start than his first drawings and sketches, clearly influenced by the great masters of the 19th and 20th centuries ─ Van Gogh, Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse and others ─ followed, over the decades, by his more assured and mature works, as he re-examines favourite themes in a new light to become what he is today: a great artist who constantly questions his art through the use of acrylic paint, etchings, drawing and photography, and most recently, digital technology,” explains Sophie Joissains, the mayor of Aix.

Hockney’s ambition is reflected in his life motto: create memorable paintings which touch people beyond the art world. Among the pieces on display are such iconic works as Man in Shower in Beverly Hills (1964), Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy (1971-72) and My parents (1977), seen by millions of Tate visitors and considered by far to be the most appreciated pictorial compositions in the UK and the world.

Considered one of the most influential and popular British artists of the 20th century, 85 year-old Hockney has the rare privilege of looking back on a high-profile career that goes back well over 50 years, launching with his first retrospective exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London in 1970. In 1964 Hockney left London to move to Los Angeles, which he described as “sexy” even before he got there. This is also where some of his most remarkable œuvres were created. In 1966 he met Peter Shlesinger who would become the muse of some of his most famous paintings and his lover.

The eye is always in motion; if it doesn’t move, you’re dead. When my eye moves, the perspective varies according to the way I look, so that it is constantly changing; in real life, when you’re five people watching, there’s a thousand perspectives.” – David Hockney

Bringing together the artist’s emblematic paintings and covering almost all the periods of creation is the magnet that has already pulled record-breaking crowds of visitors. According to Johan Kraft, the Museum’s head of press and communication, the museum expects nearly 125,000 visitors by May 28 and reflects a visitors’ satisfaction rate of 9.5/10. “Visitors particularly emphasise the fact that this exhibition brings together emblematic paintings by the artist and covers almost all of his creative periods, not just one particular period,” he emphasizes. Several activities, conferences, and guided tours to accompany the exhibition are still planned for the remaining time (check here for details.)

David Hockney expo

Despite its off-the-beaten-path location, Musée Granet has written history for mounting some of the most impressive art exhibitions in France  in recent years, based on the strength of its connections to international cultural institutions.

With contributions by Virginia D’Umas

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Helen Little, scientific curator
Bruno Ely, head curator, director of Musée Granet
Paméla Grimaud, conservator,
head of conservation and research, Musée Granet

Musée Granet
Place Saint-Jean de Malte
13100 Aix-en-Provence
(wheelchair access: 18 rue Roux-Alphéran)
Tel: +33 (0)4 42 52 87 97
Reservations –

Opening hours
Monday – Sunday 10-18h
Call or visit the website for special events for persons with visual, mental or cognitive impairments.

Full admission: €11 | Reduced admission: €9
Free for under 18s, students under 26, long-term unemployed (proof of status required), and others, check website

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Photo credits –

Lead image Connaissance des Arts, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons; edited – cropped;

David Hockney
“In the Studio, December 2017″
Photographic drawing printed on 7 sheets of paper (109 1/2 x 42 3/4″ each), mounted on 7 sheets of Dibond
Edition of 12
109 1/2 x 299 1/4” overall
� David Hockney
assisted by Jonathan Wilkinson

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