David Hockney

About the Artist

Self-Portrait with Cigarette, 1983, exp. Hockney, Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris
Photo: Renaud Camus, Taken on September 4, 2017 (CC BY 2.0)

Early Years and Education

David Hockney was born in the city of Bradford, in Yorkshire, England in 1937. Hockney was the fourth of five children. He received his formal art education at the Bradford School of Art. After completing his National Service, as a hospital orderly, because of his status as a conscientious objector, he went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London.


In 1961, during his first trip to New York, MoMA bought two of his prints. Hockney, in his early twenties, fit right into the social and art scene in New York and then Los Angeles, where he made his first swimming pool paintings.

During the 1960s, Hockney taught at UCLA and UC Berkeley, before traveling back for stays in London and Paris. When he returned to LA in 1976 he began to focus on photography and printmaking. His work took an unexpected turn, and new point of view, in 1984, when his car broke down on the way to an exhibit of his work at the Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City. While waiting for his car to be repaired, Hockney stayed at the Hotel Acatlan, where he began his Moving Focus Series which were studies of perspective. Hockney employed a new printing technique, using layers of Mylar sheets to create multi-colored lithographs of the hotel’s courtyard.

His series of home made prints followed, in which he combined various media to create very personal and unique works. Throughout his career, Hockney worked on stage set designs, published books of his work, had major exhibits in the U.S. and Europe and traveled extensively.

Hockney works from his Los Angeles home, painting and experimenting with new technologies. He has done some extraordinary work on his iPad, which has been on exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, London’s Royal Academy and other venues.

Exhibits and Awards

In the past two years, Hockney has painted more than eighty portraits, which will are on exhibit at the Royal Academy. A retrospective of his work is schedule for next year at the Tate. Hockney’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Met, MoMa, the Smithsonian, Centre Georges Pompidou, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo and other major galleries around the world.

Hockney refused Buckingham Palace’s request to paint a portrait of the Queen and refused a knighthood, saying, “Prizes of any sort are suspect.” The Queen did, however, appoint him to the Order of Merit in 2012. “No comment,” was Hockney’s reaction, “other than it’s nice to know they are not prejudiced against the older smoker.”

2021-06-01T15:43:21-04:00 June 13th, 2016|

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