Flowers, Faces and Spaces – Illustrative Publication review

The Flowers, Faces and Spaces is a catalogue of a David Hockey’s exhibition held at Annely Juda Fine Art in London in 1997. The album contains full colour reproductions of his paintings, followed by the photos of his studio in Los Angeles as well as the exhibition space. The reader not only sees the paintings in detail, but also observe artist’s workspace and the development of chosen pieces. Presented paintings are supported by the minimal description: title of the work, the date of the artwork, medium of the painting and artwork’s size.

The publication includes Hockney’s general concept and explains what was the source of inspiration to create the entire set of flower paintings. Back in The Hague, Hockney set a challenge for himself after seeing the outstanding Johannes Vermeer’s paintings. Hockney wanted to play with the light additionally focus on colour and space, so he decided to paint flowers as a subject that artists were concentrated on for centuries. David Hockney always paid attention to well-known and appreciated artists and their workshop, he states “I always had a great interest in Picasso, but never quite know how to deal with it – like most artists” (Hockney, 2004, p.10).

Personally, I really like the whole outcome of the presented works as it’s kept in cleanliness and is simplified so that the reader can concentrate on artworks. It makes me more aware as a reader of the artist’s personal approach to his artworks by seeing his studio in LA. What I can agree with is some sort of a connection and alikeness in case of his studio and the space his works were exhibited, the light plays really well with the painting in both. Hockney, by taking flowers as a subject to work on, experimented with a common motive and came out with a fresh ways of seeing them. The pieces presented in this album are showing personal approach to the matter of still life, how artist sets up everything first and then painted it using slightly different, more expressive colours by fully following the certain shapes. What makes the pieces appealing are tones and a use of light as they both give some kind of a texture to the paintings. What is more, the paintings are eye-catching by their composition that Hockney set up. Their colourfulness works well with white pages and the general publication’s simplicity. That also gives an impression of being at the exhibition. Some of the paintings are enlarged to a centrefold format, it affects the album’s consistency and makes it less boring for a reader. The cover painting “30 Sunflowers 1996” is presented from three different points of view: first one are the photos revealing two stages of how the painting was being produced. Second is just painting’s reproduction with a label on the side. Last, is the centrefold containing proper details of a sunflower. Referencing to Hockney’s other works, it’s clearly visible what colours, shades and forms he’s constantly using and developing throughout the time. Not only flowers were the subject he focused on, but also houses, people’s portraits, landscapes or animals, all made within similar style and with colour palette.


  • Hockney, D. (2004) Hockney’s pictures. London : Thames & Hudson.
  • Livingstone, M. (1988) David Hockney : etchings and lithographs. London : Thames and Hudson (and) Waddington Graphics.
  • Marjorie E. Wieseman. (2013) Vermeer and music : the art of love and leisure. London : National Gallery Company.
  • The Practical Art World. 2018. Examples of Artwork Labels. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 February 2018].

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