cover image To See Clearly: A Portrait of David Hockney

To See Clearly: A Portrait of David Hockney

Evan Turk. Abrams, $19.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5290-2

Turk (The Red Tin Box) creates an affectionate, frank biography of artist David Hockney (b. 1937), a figure whose openhearted curiosity makes him particularly accessible for young readers. Growing up in a sooty Yorkshire mill town with parents who encouraged his talents, Hockney would cover scrap paper with drawings: “The more he looked and drew, the more he saw.” The cinema nurtured a fascination with California; one of the book’s many marvelous colored pencil, gouache, and crayon spreads shows a film flickering on the round glasses that would become Hockney’s sartorial signature. Moving to Los Angeles in the early 1960s—a milestone portrayed in a fauve-like montage—Hockney finds endless inspiration in the landscape (“Palm trees! Surfers! Swimming pools! Everything seemed to pulse with color and excitement”). He also incorporates scenes of gay life in his paintings—“still very daring,” even in “more accepting” Los Angeles. Hockney’s place in art history was secured early on, as his first exhibition sold out and art collectors and museums sought his work, but “he always kept searching for new ways to see,” and these pages are a fitting tribute to a joyful, restless, and fearless creative life, and to stopping and looking carefully. Ages 4–8. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Book Group. (Sept.)