David Hockney Delivers (Another) Scathing Criticism of Gerhard Richter

Artist David Hockney poses with his painting
Artist David Hockney poses with his painting "Studio Interior #4 2014-2015." Photo credit LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images.

David Hockney really doesn’t like the work of Gerhard Richter. The British art superstar delivered another dig at the German heavyweight painter in an interview printed in the July issue of the German-language publication Monopol Magazin.

Hockney spoke extensively about his artistic practice, his current projects, and the future of painting when the questions inevitably turned towards the painter’s opinion on German artists. And when Richter’s name came up, Hockey didn’t mince his words.

Hockney criticized richter's squeegee painting technique. Photo: Gladwell Patterson via Kino Lorber.

Hockney criticized richter’s squeegee painting technique.
Photo: Gladwell Patterson via Kino Lorber.

“To be honest, I don’t really understand Richter,” Hockney said. “The pictures are quite nice, but also a little like the belle peinture from Paris in the 50s.”

And just to make sure that his statements aren’t misinterpreted, he clarified: “And I mean that pejoratively.” Ouch.

Hockney then elaborated, saying “I just cant see any profundity. He always makes the same stuff with the squeegee, which is okay, but I don’t see what’s so great about it.”

There is seemingly no love lost between the two blue-chip artists. Photo: Norbert Millauer via AFP/Getty Images

There is seemingly no love lost between the two blue-chip artists.
Photo: Norbert Millauer via AFP/Getty Images

The outspoken artist made similar statements in a conversation with the Guardian in May. Where he questioned the value of Richter’s canvasses “I just don’t understand why they’re $24 million,” he said at the time.

On the other hand he had much nicer things to say about Richter’s contemporaries Sigmar Polke and Anselm Kiefer, professing his admiration for both. He also praised the young artist Matthias Weischer and the Leipziger Schule movement.

“The Germans have always had good painters,” he concluded.

It seems that Hockney is back after a period of severe creative difficulties following the tragic death of his friend and studio assistant Dominic Elliott who drank toxic toilet cleanser.


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