Art Book Club: Hockney-Van Gogh, The Joy of Nature

Hockney-Van Gogh, The Joy of Nature

by Hans den Hartog Jager



Once a month I meet up with four fabulous women artists to discuss books about art. We read books about art theory, history, or practice.

This months book was Hockney-Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature.

Hockney — Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature presents unique insights into the influences of two world-renowned artists. Nature has been a substantial theme for both David Hockney and Vincent van Gogh, one that draws their work together—Hockney’s Yorkshire landscapes are especially reminiscent of Vincent van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Crows and The Harvest—and now, for the first time, art lovers can study their pieces side by side...
— Goodreads Synopsis
hockney spread.jpeg

The book takes you through some great visual comparisons in multiple mediums. From oil paintings and ipad drawings, to some knock it out of the park watercolor botanicals. The reproductions are beautiful and well placed.

This book was made for an exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum, so keep in mind that the images you see in the book are intended to be an echo of what you would see in person. The book also mentions that a film was made, which I haven’t seen.

Regardless of that, this book was great read, though I didn’t agree with all of the comparisons. The writing felt natural and well researched. I gained an appreciation of Hockney’s art that I didn’t have before.

My favorite part of the book was the interview at the end with David Hockney and the author, Hans den Hartog Jager. The quote below is an answer to “Do you still work all day…You could take some time off”

Like I said: artists, real artists, have to work. They can’t be hedonists. Really good painters are always working. The world is such a marvelous place. You have to look and to work. That’s exactly why Van Gogh was such a great artist: total commitment. That’s what you need.
— Hockney- From an interview on page 162

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I’m a huge advocate of The Work. Meaning: If you want to be a great artist of any kind, a master of the trade, you have to put in the hours and the focus that it demands. So when I see an artist like Hockney and Van Gogh, even if I don’t like the painting, I see the The Work and am captivated. Any artist who has done The Work, who’s tenacity is addictive and shows up in the product, is one to be respected. I’d recommend this book!

Find it on Goodreads

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any art book suggestions!