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Charleston present a collection of rarely seen drawings by David Hockney, Love Life

A collection of rarely seen drawings by one of our most popular and recognisable artists go on display this autumn. On Sat 23 Sept – Sun 10 March, Charleston will present Love Life, a collection of works by David Hockney. It offers visitors a unique opportunity to marvel at the extraordinary power of observation and artistic finesse which characterises Hockney’s early works.

In 2017, prior to the opening of a retrospective exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, David Hockney (b.1937) painted the words ‘Love Life’ on the final wall of the show. Explaining his actions, he said: “I love my work. And I think the work has love, actually … I love life. I write it at the end of letters – ‘Love life, David Hockney.”

The exhibition showcases a remarkable series of drawings that encapsulate Hockney’s love for life. It shows his profound connection with the world around him.

During the formative stages of his career, Hockney’s artistic brilliance manifested through his ability to capture the essence of his subjects with remarkable economy. He used pencil, coloured crayon, and pen and ink.

Visitors to the exhibition will be enthralled by Hockney’s depictions of everyday objects, still-lifes and architectural works. From a box of matches on a table to bunches of spring onions and leeks, Hockney’s works exemplify his ability to find beauty in the more intimate and seemingly ordinary aspects of life. Whether capturing the character of his subjects, or rendering furniture and empty spaces with sensitivity and wit, Hockney’s drawings capture a depth of emotion that cannot be easily replicated in grand painted portraits.

The exhibition is organised by the Holburne Museum, Bath. With many of Hockney’s drawings on loan from private collections, Love Life is a wonderful way to enjoy his artistry.

“I am so excited to present this wonderful show of master drawings. Some are well-known and some rarely seen,” says curator, Chris Stephens. “I have long believed David Hockney to be one of the greatest draughtsmen of all time. I consider his drawings of the later 60s and 70s being among the greatest works by him and, for that matter, by anyone else.”

To mark the opening weekend of Love Life, Charleston is hosting artist Ian Giles’ performance A Clear Comfort. It engages with legacies of queer homemaking. Offering a rare opportunity to get inside Charleston’s house out-of-hours, this promenade performance will transport intimate audiences beyond the physical walls of Charleston and into the homes of pioneering queer artists such as filmmaker Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage in Dungeness; American photographer Alice Austen’s home Clear Comfort on Staten Island and trace the origins of House Music in gay clubs in 1970s Chicago.

This event is commissioned and presented in partnership with Van Gogh House.


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