David Hockney is relaxing after lunch. The house feels full as his friend John, who made the meal, and assistant Jean-Pierre, an accordionist – true: I’ve seen the accordion – move around. “I remember seeing a Sargent in the Chicago Art Institute,” he says, “and thinking, fucking good, you know, great, and even the bravura slickness, I admire it. And then I went round the corner and there’s a Van Gogh portrait, and you just think, well, this is another level. A higher level, actually. I love the Sargent, but it’s not the level of Van Gogh.” The house is a brilliant succession of different coloured rooms, a kind of benign House of Usher. Like his London home, it transports you into a generous roving space. I have to admit this was not how I imagined it when I was on a dank train from Doncaster to Bridlington, looking over at a woman reading a book called The World’s Greatest Serial Killers. It was a dismal late-summer day as I headed north towards the Yorkshire seaside town where Hockney has been spending much of his time painting the local landscape.
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