David Hockney: Art world collectors clamour for giant book that encompasses 60-year career from Yorkshire to LA

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IT IS a publication that is just about big enough to do justice to one of the world’s greatest and most prolific living artists.

A giant limited edition book which is devoted to the work of David Hockney has sparked interest from across the globe, and the first and only copy to be stocked in the North of Britain has arrived in the artist’s native Yorkshire.

Measuring 70cm by 50cm with 498 pages, A Bigger Book was delivered yesterday at Salts Mill in Saltaire, which has its own Hockney gallery and powerful emotional links to the Bradford-born artist.

Collectors and art lovers are clamouring to get their hands on the book, which spans a career that started more than 60 years ago.

The pictures include those Hockney painted as a teenager at Bradford School of Art, as well as other work from his breakthrough into Swinging 1960s London, a record of life by Los Angeles pools in the 1970s and his recent series of portraits, iPad drawings and landscapes of the Yorkshire Wolds.

Mallory Testa, of its publishers, Taschen, said: “Never before has Hockney’s oeuvre been published on such an astonishing and immersive scale. As each page unfurls in a blaze of blues, pinks, greens, and oranges, we are spellbound by the artist’s vibrancy as a colourist.

Kate Holliday, assistant manager looks at the new Bigger Book by David Hockney, at the David Hockney Gallery, Salts Mill, Saltaire. PIC: Simon Hulme

Kate Holliday, assistant manager looks at the new Bigger Book by David Hockney, at the David Hockney Gallery, Salts Mill, Saltaire. PIC: Simon Hulme

“Through Hockney’s restless interrogation of perception and representation, we witness the mellow sheen of light on a muddy Yorkshire puddle, the ochre enormities of A Bigger Grand Canyon, the rustic majesty of Bigger Trees near Warter and, of course, A Bigger Splash, with the exquisite sparkle of a turquoise pool beneath an iridescent California sky.”

There are two versions of the book including the Collectors’ Edition which has a price tag of £1,750 and is a run of 9,000 copies, each one numbered and signed by the artist. The exclusive Art Edition is priced at £3,500 and comes with a signed, limited-edition Hockney print. There are just 1,000 copies available.

At the book’s launch at the recent Frankfurt Book Fair, the artist said it was the best reproduction of his pictures that he had ever seen.

“It’s a unique opportunity to own a very special Hockney item,” said Zoe Silver, whose late father, Jonathan Silver, transformed the derelict former textile mill where the book arrived yesterday into one of Yorkshire’s most impressive visitor attractions.

He was a close friend of Hockney’s and suggested it would be the perfect place for the artist to show his work.

The mill’s 1853 Gallery now houses the world’s largest private collection of Hockney originals and attracts visitors from all over the world. Mr Silver died in 1997 at the age 47 and a portrait of him by his friend and a picture of sunflowers that he sent to him during his battle with cancer are on display in the gallery.

Speaking about the new book, 79-year-old Hockney, who now lives in Los Angeles after a long spell in Bridlington, said: “I don’t tend to live in the past but working on this book, I see quite how much I have done.”

DAVID Hockney was born in Bradford in 1937 to a working class family and won a scholarship to Bradford Grammar School.

His artistic talent propelled him to Bradford College of Art and then to the Royal College of Art. After a spell in Bridlington, he now lives in Los Angeles and is considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Along with paintings, he has produced photo-composites, collages, video works and iPad drawings.

Recently, he said: “Artists don’t retire. You just go on until you fall over. That’s all I’ll do. I like working, what else is there to do?”

Tate Britain is opening a retrospective on Hockney in February.