The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents the exhibition ‘Hockney – Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature’, opening February 21, 2021
David Hockney (1937) may live more than a century later than Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), however their vision of landscape is often similar. Two visionary artists, separated in time and space, are united by a shared fascination with nature. The exhibition shows 57 selected landscape paintings and drawings Van Gogh and Hockney, illustrating how Van Gogh’s perspective on nature influenced and inspired Hockney. Inaugurated in 2019 by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Hockney-Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature will be on view in Houston—the only U.S. venue—from Sunday, February 21, through Sunday, June 20, 2021.
This exhibition examines the common ground between British artist Hockney (born 1937) and Dutch artist Van Gogh (1853–1890). Both expressed their profound love of nature through brilliant color and the capacity to see the world with fresh eyes. The Joy of Nature reveals Van Gogh’s unmistakable influence on Hockney in a selection of carefully selected landscape paintings and drawings.
Through a bold use of color and experimentation with perspective, each artist crafts a painterly world that is utterly individual and true to themselves, yet offers immense universal appeal. The Joy of Nature brings together nearly 50 of Hockney’s vibrant works—ranging from intimate sketchbook studies to monumental paintings, as well as his experimental videos and iPad drawings—with 10, carefully chosen paintings and drawings by Van Gogh.
Although separated in time and space, David Hockney and Vincent van Gogh are united by a shared fascination with nature, bold use of color, and experimentation with perspective—each crafting a painterly world that is utterly individual and true to himself, yet offers immense universal appeal. Hockney-Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature brings together 47 of Hockney’s vibrant works—ranging from intimate sketchbook studies to monumental paintings, as well as his experimental videos and iPad drawings—alongside 10 carefully chosen paintings and drawings by Van Gogh.
The central Hockney works selected for this exhibition were painted in the 2000s in Yorkshire Wolds, in northeastern England, where Hockney returned after almost 40 years in Los Angeles to visit his ailing mother and a terminally ill friend. There, he executed landscapes en plein air, revealing through observations of the changing seasons how light, space, and nature are constantly in flux. These imposing works offer vivid insight into Hockey’s love of nature and expose clear links to Van Gogh’s landscapes, such as Field with Irises near Arles (1888) and Path in the Garden of the Asylum (1890). “I’ve always found the world quite beautiful—and that’s an important thing I share with Van Gogh,” Hockney has noted. “We both really enjoy looking at the world.”
About the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Established in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is among the 10 largest art museums in the United States, with an encyclopedic collection of nearly 70,000 works dating from antiquity to the present. The Museum’s Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim main campus comprises the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, designed by Steven Holl Architects and opened in 2020; the Audrey Jones Beck Building, designed by Rafael Moneo and opened in 2000; the Caroline Wiess Law Building, originally designed by William Ward Watkin, with extensions by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe completed in 1958 and 1974; the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, designed by Isamu Noguchi and opened in 1986; the Glassell School of Art, designed by Steven Holl Architects and opened in 2018; and The Brown Foundation, Inc. Plaza, designed by Deborah Nevins & Associates and opened in 2018. Additional spaces include a repertory cinema, two libraries, public archives, and facilities for conservation and storage. Nearby, two house museums—Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, and Rienzi—present American and European decorative arts. The MFAH is also home to the International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA), a leading research institute for 20th-century Latin American and Latino art. mfah.org