David Hockney has donated his largest work ever to the Tate. The breathtaking portrait, of a typical Yorkshire landscape, was first exhibited last year at the Royal Academy. It will be displayed at Tate Britain in 2009.
Hockney’s big paintings of woodlands in the changing seasons have a bounce that’s totally different from anything else in the entire history of British landscape art.
“The painting is massive. It is made of 50 small canvases, adding up to an area measuring 40-foot wide by 15-foot high. The subject is what you might call the ordinary English countryside: a small copse of trees, with another in the background, and one large sycamore in front, spreading its network of branches above your head. To the right is a house, to the left a road curves away. In the foreground, a few daffodils bloom. The work is the solution to a problem that perplexed and defeated many of the great painters of the nineteenth century: how do you paint a mighty canvas outside, en plein air? To make the work, Hockney has employed the most up-todate digital technology, in addition to the most old-fashioned – the human hand, arm and eye.”