Springtime for Hockney as he paints the town with flowers

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The Independent Online
For the art world, 1 May will have a significance beyond the general election. David Hockney is to give his first major British show of paintings for nearly a decade.

The exhibition "Flowers, Faces and Spaces", until 19 July at the Annely Juda Gallery in central London, will include a brand new series of more than 30 portraits and self-portraits and 18 still lifes never exhibited before. It will be his largest commercial gallery show. A number of the works will be for sale and are expected to fetch between pounds 150,000 and pounds 400,000, and it is likely to be one of the best-attended exhibitions of the year.

Annely Juda, who has been a friend of Hockney's since the Sixties, said yesterdaythat the flower still lifes were "a real departure for David".

Hockney, who lives in Los Angeles, says the new paintings of irises, sunflowers and violets bathed in Californian sunlight were greatly inspired by a visit he made to the Vermeer exhibition in The Hague last year. "What struck me was how vivid and strong the colour was in paintings that are 300 years old," he said. "I came back here and realised we've got a marvellous abundance of wonderful, strong light. I began to arrange daylighting in different ways ... I've painted flowers throughout my career, but I've never really done a whole series."

A 160-page catalogue documenting all the new paintings will accompany the exhibition.

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