David Hockney

Eyridiki Sellou | Dec 10, 2022

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David Hockney (Bradford, July 9, 1937) is a British painter, draughtsman, set designer, printmaker and photographer. He lives in Bridlington, East Yorkshire and Kensington, London. Hockney maintains two residences in California where he lived seasonally for 30 years: one in Nichols Canyon, Los Angeles, and an office on Santa Monica Boulevard He was a major contributor to the movement known as Pop Art in the 1960s, being considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. On November 15, 2018 his work Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) was sold by Christie's auction house in New York for a record price of U$90.3 million dollars (enshrining him as the world's most expensive living artist.

He is the fourth of five children of Laura and Kenneth Hockney (he, a conscientious objector in World War II). He was educated at Wellington Primary School, Bradford Grammar School, Bradford College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London, where he met R. B. Kitaj. While there, Hockney said he felt at home and proud of his work. At the Royal College of Art, Hockney was included in the Young Contemporaries exhibition, along with Peter Blake, heralding the arrival of British Pop Art. He was associated with this movement, but his recent works had elements of abstract expressionism, similar to some of Francis Bacon's work. When the RCA warned him that they could not allow him to graduate in 1962, Hockney created the drawing known as "The Diploma" in protest. He had refused to write an essay required for the final exam, arguing that he should be evaluated on the basis of his works alone. In recognition of his talent, the RCA changed its rules and gave him his diploma.

A visit to California, where he lived for many years, inspired him to make a series of paintings of swimming pools using (relatively new) acrylic paint in vibrant colors, with a highly realistic rendering. The artist moved to Los Angeles in 1964, returned to London in 1968, and from 1973 to 1975 lived in Paris.

He returned to Los Angeles in 1978 and rented a house on the edge of a canyon. Years later he acquired the property and expanded it to include his studio. He also owned a 1,642-square-foot beach house at 21039 Pacific Coast in Malibu, which he sold in 1999 for about $1.5 million.

Hockney is openly gay, and unlike Andy Warhol, whom he befriended, he has openly explored the nature of gay love within his portraits. Sometimes he depicts his love for men through his artwork as in his 1961 painting We Two Boys Together Clinging, named after a poem by Walt Whitman. In 1963 he painted men together, as in his work "Domestic Scene, Los Angeles" where one of the men bathes while the other carves his back. In the summer of 1966, while teaching at UCLA, he met Peter Schlesinger, then an art student who posed for paintings and drawings.

On the morning of March 18, 2013, Hockney's 23-year-old assistant, Dominic Elliot, died of drug and alcohol abuse at the artist's studio in Bridlington. Elliot had been a player on Bridlington's rugby team. Hockney's partner reported taking Elliot to Scarborough General Hospital in North Yorkshire, where he was to die.

Hockney produced prints, portraits of friends and designed set designs for the Royal Court Theatre, the Glyndebourne Festival, La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. The artist was born with synesthesia and consequently sees synesthetic colors in response to musical stimuli. This is not reflected in his paintings and photographic work, but it is one of the principles he uses for the design of stage sets for operas and ballet; he bases the background colors and lighting on the colors he sees while listening to the musical pieces.


He dedicated himself to portraiture at different periods of his career. From 1968 he painted his friends, lovers and relatives from photographs. Hockney's presence is implicit in these portraits, as the lines of perspective converge in such a way as to suggest the artist's point of view. Hockney returns to the same subjects repeatedly - his parents, the artist Mo McDermott (Mo McDermott, 1976), various writers he has known, fashion designers such as Celia Birtwell and Ossie Clark (Mr. and Mrs. Clark, and Percy, 1970-71), curator Henry Geldzahler, art dealer Nicholas Wilder, George Lawson and his lover (ballet dancer) Wayne Sleep.

When Hockney arrived in California, he stopped painting with oils and began using acrylic paint, applying it in such a way that it was smooth, flat and brightly colored. In 1965, the artist was approached by the Gemini G.E.L. print shop to create a series of lithographs about Los Angeles. Hockney responded by creating a collection of Found Art.

The joiners

In the early 1980's, Hockney began producing "joiners", which are collages made from photographs, first using Polaroid prints and subsequently commercially processed 35mm prints, and creating composite images using instant film or photographs developed from a single subject in an irregular arrangement. Hockney created composite images using photographs made from instant film or developed photographs of a single subject arranged in an irregular fashion. One of his earliest photo montages was one of his Mother. Because the photographs are taken from different perspectives and at slightly different times, the resulting work is akin to Cubism (one of Hockney's goals), in a discussion of how human sight works. Some pieces are landscapes, such as Pearblossom Highway #2, others are portraits, Kasmin 1982.

The creation of joiners happened accidentally. He noticed that photographers in the late 1960s were using wide-angle lenses. He didn't like these photographs because they looked somewhat distorted. While working on a painting of a living room and terrace in Los Angeles, he took several Polaroid photographs and pasted them together without intending for them to result in a composition. Looking at the final composition he realized that he had created a narrative: it was as if the viewer was moving through the room. He began to work more with photography after his discovery and stopped painting for a while to develop this new technique. Frustrated with the limitations of photography and its one-sided approach, he returned to painting.

Late work

In 1976, at Atelier Crommelynck, Hockney created a portfolio of 20 etchings in Aldo Crommelynck's studio in 1976. This collection was titled: "The Blue Guitar: Etchings by David Hockney, inspired by Wallace Stevens who was inspired by Pablo Picasso" The etchings refer to themes from Wallace Stevens' poem, "The Man With The Blue Guitar". This poem was published by Petersburg Press in October 1977. That same year, Petersburg also published a book in which the poem was illustrated with the etchings.

Hockney was commissioned to design the cover and some pages for the December 1985 French edition of Vogue magazine. Consistent with his interest in cubism and his admiration for Pablo Picasso, Hockney chose to paint Celia Birtwell (who appears in several of his works) from different points of view, as if the eye had scanned her face diagonally.

In December 1985, Hockney used the Quantel Paintbox, a computer program that allowed the artist to draw directly on the screen. Using this program was similar to drawing on PET film (biaxially oriented) for the creation of prints, an area in which he had a great deal of experience. The resulting work was featured in a BBC series profiling various artists.

His works were used on the cover of the British Telecom telephone directory for Bradford in 1989.

Hockney returned more frequently to Yorkshire in the 1990s (every three months) to visit his mother who died in 1999. He rarely stayed for more than two weeks, until in 1997 his friend Jonathan Silver, who was terminally ill, encouraged him to capture his local surroundings. At first, he made these paintings based on his memories (some from his childhood). Hockney returned to Yorkshire and stayed longer and longer, by 2005 he was painting the countryside outdoors. He bought a residence and a gigantic seaside studio in the village of Bridlington, 75 miles from where he was born. The oil paintings he made from 2005 onwards were influenced by his intensive studies in watercolor (2003-2004). He created paintings made up of several smaller canvases: nine, fifteen or more. To help him visualize at that scale, he used digital photographic reproductions. At the end of each day, the completed work was photographed and Hockney took a hard copy home.

In June 2007, Hockney's largest painting, Bigger Trees Near Warter, 15x40 feet, was hung in the Royal Academy's largest gallery in its annual summer exhibition. This work "is a monumental scale of Hockney's native Yorkshire, between Bridlington and York... It was painted on 50 individual canvases, and most of it had been painted on site over five weeks the previous winter...". It was painted on 50 individual canvases, and most of it had been painted in situ over five weeks the previous winter." In 2008, Hockney donated this painting to the Tate Gallery in London, saying, "I thought if I wanted to give something to the Tate, it had to be something very good. It's going to be there for a long time. I don't want to give them something that I'm not completely proud of ... I think this is a good painting because it's from England ... it seems to be the right thing to do."

Since 2009, Hockney has painted hundreds of portraits, still lifes and landscapes using the iPhone brushesapp (Brushes) and often sends these works to friends. At the Fondation Pierre Bergé in Paris, the show Fleurs fraîches (Fresh Flowers) was held. This exhibition opened in 2011 at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and featured over 100 of his drawings on 25 iPads and 20 iPods. In late 2011, Hockney visited California to paint Yosemite National Park on his iPad. For the Vienna State Opera's 2012-2013 season, he designed a large-scale (176 square meters) painting on his iPad as part of the "Safety Curtain" exhibition.

Set design

Hockney's first design for an opera was based on painted drops. It was used for Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in England (1975) and for The Magic Flute (1978). In 1981, he agreed to design the scenery and costumes for three 20th century French works at the Metropolitan Opera House entitled Fiesta. The works were Parade, a ballet with music by Erik Satie; The Tits of Tiresias, a work with a libretto by Guillaume Apollinaire and music by Francis Poulenc, and The Child and the Spells, an opera with a libretto written by Colette and music by Maurice Ravel. The set for The Child and the Spells is a permanent installation at the Spalding House (offshoot of the Honolulu Museum of Art). He designed sets for Puccini's Turandot in 1991 at the Lyric Opera in Chicago and for Richard Strauss' The Woman Without a Shadow in 1992 at the Royal Opera House in London. In 1994, he designed the costumes and scenery for twelve opera arias for Plácido Domingo at the Operalia in Mexico City. Technical advances have allowed him to create increasingly complex models. In his studio, he had a 6-foot (1.8 m) by 4-foot (1.2 m) backdrop where he built 1:8 scale sets. He also used a computerized set that allowed him to program moments of lighting to synchronize with the music.

Hockney had his first exhibition, per se, in 1963 at the age of 26, and by 1970, the Whitechapel Gallery in London was to hold his first major retrospective. In 2004, he was included in the Whitney Biennial, where his portraits were placed in the gallery alongside several younger artists for whom Hockney was an inspiration.

In October 2006, the National Portrait Gallery in London organized one of the largest exhibitions of Hockney's portraits (five decades of work), including 150 paintings, prints, drawings, sketchbooks and photo-collages. The collection ranged from his earliest self-portraits to portraits completed in 2005. Hockney assisted in the exhibition and curation of the exhibition; it ran through January 2007 and was one of the most successful in the gallery's history. "David Hockney: Just Nature" attracted an estimated 100,000 visitors at the Kunsthalle Würth in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany in 2009.

From January 21, 2012 to April 9, 2012, the Royal Academy presented A Bigger Picture. This exhibition included over 150 works and many of them were so large that they took up entire walls of the gallery. The exhibition was devoted to landscapes, especially trees and tree tunnels. Some works are oil paintings and watercolors inspired by his native Yorkshire. About 50 drawings were created with an iPad and printed on paper. Hockney said in a 2012 interview, "It's about big things. You can enlarge the paintings. We're also doing bigger photographs, bigger videos and everything to do with drawing." The exhibition moved to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain from May 15 to September 30, and from there to the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany from October 27, 2012 to February 3, 2013.

From October 26, 2013 to January 30, 2013, the exhibition "David Hockney: A Larger Exhibition" was presented at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum (one of San Francisco's fine art museums) and featured works by the artist since 2002. Included were Photoshop portraits, multi-canvas oil paintings, iPad landscapes and digital films shot with multiple cameras.

'Hockney, Printmaker', curated by Richard Lloyd (International Head of Prints at Christie's), was the first major exhibition with a focus on Hockney's printmaking career. The exhibition ran from 5 February to 11 May 2014 at Dulwich Picture Gallery before moving to The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle.

In 2017, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao hosted the exhibition 82 portraits and a still life, an exhibition in which Hockney depicted socially recognized people and total strangers alike.

Many of Hockney's works reside near his hometown of Bradford in Salts Mill, Saltaire. The collection of writer Christopher Isherwood is considered the most important private collection of Hockney's works in the world. In the 1990s, Isherwood's life partner Don Bachardy donated the entire collection to the foundation. His works are in numerous public and private collections around the world, including:

In 1967, Hockney's painting, Peter Leaving Nick's Pool, won the John Moores Painting Prize at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, and Hockney was offered a knighthood in 1990 but turned it down, until January 2012 when he accepted the UK's Order of Merit. Hockney was offered a knighthood in 1990 but declined, until January 2012 when he accepted the UK Order of Merit. He was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's Progress Medal in 1988 and the 150th Anniversary Special Medal, as well as the Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in recognition of his significant contribution to the art of photography in 2003. He was made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honor in 1997 and is a Royal Academician. In 2012 Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom made him a Member of the United Kingdom's Order of Merit, an honor restricted to only 24 members in total for his contributions to art and science.

Hockney was a Distinguished Honoree of the National Arts Association in Los Angeles in 1991 and received the first Annual Achievement Award from the Archives of American Art in Los Angeles in 1993. He was approached by the Committee of Trustees of American Associates, Royal Academy Trust in New York in 1992 and in 1997 was presented with an Honorary Foreign Membership to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hockney was awarded the Lorenzo de' Medici Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2003 Florence Biennale in Italy.

The Other Art Fair conducted a survey in November 2011 of 1,000 British painters and sculptors that declared Hockney to be Britain's most influential artist of all time.

Since 1963, Hockney has been represented by art dealer, John Kasmin and Annely Juda Fine Art in London. On June 21, 2006, Hockney's painting "The Dip" sold for £2.6 million. A Bigger Grand Canyon, a series of 60 paintings combined to create a single image, was purchased by the National Gallery of Australia for $4.6 million. Beverly Hills Housewife (1966-67) is a 12-foot-long acrylic depicting collector Betty Freeman standing by her pool in a long pink dress; it sold for $7.9 million at Christie's New York in 2008 and was the highest price of the lot, as well as a record price for Hockney.

In the 2001 television program and book, Secret Knowledge, Hockney argues that the Old Masters used the Camera Obscura technique that projected images onto the surface to be painted. Hockney argues that this technique gradually migrated to Italy and Europe, and is the explanation for the photographic style of paintings of the Renaissance and later periods. He published his findings in the book "Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters" in 2001.

Like his father, Hockney was a conscientious objector and worked as a nurse's aide in hospitals during his military service from 1957 to 1959.

Hockney was the founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1979. He is on the advisory board of the policy journal Standpoint Magazine, and contributed the original sketches for the launch issue in June 2008.

Hockney is a staunch anti-smoking advocate and was a guest on the BBC's "Today" program on December 29, 2009 to express his views on the subject.

In October 2010, he and 100 other artists signed a letter to the State Secretary of Culture, Media and Sports protesting against budget cuts to the arts.

In 2005, Burberry's creative director, Christopher Bailey, focused his entire spring collection on the


Hockney was the subject of Jack Hazan's 1974 film A Bigger Splash, named for the most famous painting in Hockney's pool series.

Hockney also served as inspiration for artist Billy Pappas in the documentary Waiting for Hockney (2008), which debuted at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.


David Hockney: A Rake's Progress (2012) is a biography of the artist from 1937 to 1975 by writer and photographer Christopher Simon Sykes.


On August 14, 2012, Hockney was the subject of the BBC Radio 4 radio program Extra:The New Elizabethans, presented by James Naughtie. In December 2012, The Sunday Times first published some works it had commissioned from Hockney on a trip to Egypt in 1963, which had remained shelved because of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The commissioner was liquidated in full, but the works had not been published.


In the third episode of the first season of the television series "The Sopranos, Tony Soprano and his partner Irina Peltsin discuss a painting of a swimming pool that reminded him of David Hockey.

In 2012, Hockney, transferred paintings valued at $124.2 million to the David Hockney Foundation, and donated $1.2 million in cash to help fund the foundation's operations. The artist plans to give his paintings to galleries such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Tate Modern in London through the foundation.


  1. David Hockney
  2. David Hockney
  3. ^ "David Hockney A Bigger Picture". Royal Academy of Arts. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 18 January 2012.
  4. ^ David Hockney, Mulholland Drive (1980) LACMA. Retrieved 1 May 2013
  5. Wright, Karen (verano de 2010). «Brushes with Hockney». Intelligent Life. Archivado desde el original el 16 de agosto de 2011. Consultado el 19 de agosto de 2011.
  6. a b c d e f g h Ulrich Ernst Huse et al.: David Hockney. In: Harenberg Malerlexikon. Harenberg, Dortmund 2001, ISBN 3-611-00977-6, S. 466.
  7. David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist ( Pool with Two Figures) | Christie's. Abgerufen am 16. Januar 2020 (englisch).
  8. a b c d e f The David Hockney Foundation: Chronology. Abgerufen am 16. Januar 2020 (englisch).
  9. « David Hockney en 3 minutes », sur beauxarts.com, 4 octobre 2021 (consulté le 28 octobre 2021).

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