Later in his career Hockney became interested in the historical relationship between representational painters and optical devices. In Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters (2001, rev. ed. 2006) and elsewhere he asserted that from about 1430 to 1860 many painters in the Western tradition used innovations in visual technology such as lenses, mirrors, the camera obscura, and the camera lucida to produce strikingly realistic effects. He also maintained that after the invention (1839) of daguerreotype photography, artists began to search for and capture a new visual truth not found in photographs, and the beginnings of modernism were born.
In the 21st cent. Hockney has spent more time in his native Yorkshire, where he has painted large, colorful local landscapes, e.g., The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011, often creating one or more paintings a day, and sometimes creating mural-sized works. Inspired by Van Gogh's vibrant landscapes, he has produced these works on canvas and using still and video cameras and the iPad. Other works, inspired by Russian art historian and mathematician Pavel Florensky's writings, explore
reverse perspective, in which the spatial viewpoint is distorted and shifting; many are irregularly shaped.
See his A History of Pictures (2016, with M. Gaylord); Hockney on Photography: Conversations with Paul Joyce (1988) and M. Gaylord, ed., A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney (rev. ed. 2016); G. Evans, ed., Hockney's Pictures: The Definitive Retrospective (2004), M. Livingstone et al., David Hockney: A Bigger Picture (2012), and David Hockney: A Bigger Book (2016); autobiographies (1976, 1993), ed. by N. Stangos; biography by C. S. Sykes (2 vol., 2011–14); studies by M. Livingstone (1981, enl. ed. 1996), P. Webb (1988), K. E. Silver (1994), P. Clothier (1995), P. Melia, ed. (1995); and P. Melia and U. Luckhardt (2006).
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