Back in the late 1990s, as Helmut Newton and Benedikt Taschen were working on the legendary SUMO in Los Angeles, the idea arose to one day create a SUMO together with David Hockney. “How great would it be to have such a book in the same scope and detail in glorious color about Hockney, the greatest painter alive?” Benedikt thought. “Imagine someone did this back in the day, with one of the modern art masters like Matisse, Picasso, or Dalí. And since David lives next door in the Hollywood Hills, I must grab this historic chance!”
This dream has finally come true: a spectacular overview of more than 60 years of Hockney’s incredible work. Each page unfurls in a blaze of blues, pinks, greens, and oranges, and we are spellbound both by the artist’s vibrancy as a colorist and his extraordinary sense of the conditions of the world that surrounds us. In Hockney’s restless interrogation of perception and representation, we see through the exquisite sparkle of a turquoise Los Angeles pool or witness the mellow sheen of light on a muddy Yorkshire puddle or stand beneath the rustic majesty of Bigger Trees near Warter. These major paintings are joined by the artist’s drawings, photo-composites, multi-perspective collages, stage designs, multi-camera video works, and iPad drawings, each a panoply of looking and showing in different styles and media.
It has taken Hockney and coeditor Hans Werner Holzwarth over a year to select and sequence the more than 450 works for this purely visual trip through the artist’s oeuvre on 500 pages, building a dozen different book dummies, proofing the colors in several rounds to make sure all images are meticulously printed. Presented on a bookstand designed by Marc Newson, A Bigger Book has become an artistic object itself, perfect for studying Hockney’s art in every detail, in every stroke of the brush, and perfect for living with the works of one of the most popular and versatile painters of our time.
David Hockney and Benedikt Taschen at Hockney’s studio (left); David Hockney signing one of the 10,000 copies of his SUMO (right).
The David Hockney SUMO
50 x 70 cm (19.6 x 27.5 in.), 498 pages, 13 fold-outs. With an adjustable bookstand designed by Marc Newson. Plus an illustrated 680-page chronology book. Art Edition 1–1,000
4 editions, each with an iPad drawing printed on archival paper, numbered and signed by the artist, 56 x 43 cm (22 x 17 in.) Collector’s Edition 1,001–10,000
“I know the book is going to last 100 years, at least.”—David Hockney