David Hockney, an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, was born on July 9, 1937 in Bradford, England. He was an important contributor to the Pop art movement of the 1960s, and is also considered to be one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century.
Hockney studied at Bradford College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London, where he met R.B. Kitaj. While studying at the Royal College of Art, he was featured in the Young Contemporaries exhibition, along with Peter Blake. This exhibition announced the arrival of British Pop Art. Hockney’s early work also displayed expressionist elements, some of which made references to his love for men. From 1963, he was represented by John Kasmin, an influential art dealer. After living in California for many years, David Hockney was inspired to make a series of paintings of swimming pools in Los Angeles using the comparatively new Acrylic medium rather than oil paint.
He made increasing use of photography for purposes of documentation. These paintings were rendered in a highly realistic style using vibrant colors. His painting, Peter Getting Out Of Nick’s Pool, won Hockney the John Moores Painting Prize at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool in 1967. David Hockney also made prints, portraits of friends, and stage designs for the Royal Court Theatre, Glyndebourne, La Scala, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. In 1970, Hockney had his first major retrospective exhibition; it was held at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London.
David Hockney also lectured at universities including the University of Iowa in 1964, the University of Colorado in 1965, the University of California in Los Angeles in 1966, and the University of California at Berkely in 1967. In 1973, David Hockney went to live in Paris, where he were worked with Aldo and Piero Crommelynck, Picasso’s master printers. He produced a series of etchings in memory of Picasso who had died earlier that year. Hockney’s work was exhibited in 1974 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Hockney’s easel paintings from the 1980s show the influence of Matisse and Picasso.
From 1982, David Hockney explored the use of the camera, making composite images of Polaroid photographs that were arranged in a rectangular grid. He compiled complete pictures from a series of individually photographed details. In the 1980s, Hockney worked with California master printer Ken Tyler, making etchings and lithographs. In 1986, he explored creating works with color photocopiers. Later, Hockney experimented using faxes and computers, composing images and colors on the screen and having them printed directly from the computer disk without preliminary proofing.
Major retrospectives of David Hockney’s work have been held in New York, Los Angeles and Europe. He primarily works in his Hollywood Hills studio in California, his permanent home since 1978. His work continues to be influenced by technical experimentation.