Born in Bradford in 1937, David Hockney had to fight to become an artist. After leaving home for the Royal College of Art in London his career flourished, but he continued to struggle with a sense of not belonging, because of his homosexuality, which had yet to be decriminalised, and because of his inclination for a figurative style of art, not sufficiently contemporary to be valued. Trips to New York and Californiawhere he would live for many years and paint his iconic swimming poolsintroduced him to new scenes and new loves, beginning a journey that would take him through the fraught years of the AIDS epidemic.
Catherine Cusset wrote her book before actually meeting Hockney, drawing inspiration from published biographies and interviews of the artist. Fascinated by Hockneys work, his uncompromising freedom, and his double life between Europe and the United States, Cusset transformed all the documentary material into a narrative. The result is a portrait that reflects her vision of Hockney, but in which Hockney could recognise himself.
A compelling hybrid of novel and biography, David Hockney: A Life
offers an insightful overview of a painter whose art is as accessible as it is compelling, and whose passion to create has never been deterred by heartbreak or illness or loss.
Catherine Cusset is a best-selling and award-winning French novelist born in Paris in 1963. A graduate of the École normale supérieure in Paris and agrégée in Classics, she taught eighteenth century French literature at Yale from 1991 to 2002. She is the author of thirteen novels, including The Story of Jane and Lautre quon adorait (shortlisted for the 2016 Prix Goncourt), and has been translated into 22 languages. Cusset lives in Manhattan with her American husband and daughter.
PRAISE FOR DAVID HOCKNEY: A LIFE
combine with loving descriptions of Hockneys canvases to create an engaging chronicle. --The New Yorker
Reading David Hockney: A Life somehow mimics the experience of looking at a painting by the artist
compelling. --The Economist
As sunny as the poolside California that was the artists longtime muse
an affirming vision of a restless talent propelled by optimism and chance
Cusset captures the psyche of a painter. --New York Times Book Review