|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|One of the foremost painters, designers, and photographers of the 20th-century contemporary art scene in the United States and England, David Hockney was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England. He experimented with numerous styles including that of 15th-Century Italian master, Piero della Francesca and with a variety of subject matter including portraits and other depictions of family and people he met in his extensive travels.|
He studied at Bradford College of Art in 1957, and in 1962 at the Royal College of Art. In the 1960s, much of his work was a homage to his heroes that included Picasso, Dubuffet, and Matisse, and in style was much influenced by Abstract Expressionism*. In the mid 1970s, he spent three years in Paris and then traveled to Los Angeles, where he did a series of lithographs* and also did his first opera design, which was for Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. In 1988, the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, awarded him an honorary doctorate.
One of his closest friends in New York City was Metropolitan Art Museum curator and leading art commentator, Henry Gedzhaler, with whom he traveled extensively in the 1970s and 1980s. Hockney did numerous paintings, lithographs and drawings that included Gedzhaler.
He has had numerous one-man shows including at the Kasmin Gallery, 1963-1989; in New York at the Museum of Modern Art in 1964 and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1988; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Holland in 1966; and the Tate Gallery in London in 1988. He has also been a stage set designer for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
Hockney has 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-Berkeley in 1967.
In 1998, he did a series of vivid pastels on the Grand Canyon called David Hockney: Space & Line, that were exhibited in Paris at Centre George Pompidou from January 27 to April 26th, 1999, and following that for a month at the Richard Gray Gallery in New York City.
The paintings are large-scale, impressionist* close-ups of the Canyon in the morning light. In 1999, he won the Wollaston award for some of his Canyon paintings, which were exhibited at London's Royal Academy of Arts*.
In 2001, Hockney's book, Secret Knowledge, was published by Viking Press and stirred much discussion with his assertion that many of the Old Masters* including Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Durer frequently used optical devices to achieve their near perfect realism*. His theory is that the mirror, the "camera obscura"*, and the "camera lucida"* were widely used by artists as early as the 1400s and that the introduction of photography in the 19th century freed artists from realism.
more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary
|Biography from Denis Bloch Fine Art:|
|David Hockney has always denied being a Pop artist but is included under this heading because this is how the public perceives him. The most highly publicized British artist since the Second World War, Hockney was born in Bradford, England in 1937, the fourth of five children. By the time he won a scholarship to Bradford Grammar School at the age of eleven, he had already decided that he wanted to be an artist. He drew for the school magazine and produced posters for the school debating society as a substitute for homework. At sixteen Hockney persuaded his parents to let him go to the local art school, and this was followed by two years of working in hospitals as an alternative to National Service, as he had registered as a conscientious objector. |
Hockney went to the Royal College of Art in London to continue his studies, arriving there in 1959: “Immediately after I started at the Royal College, I realized that there were two groups of students there: a traditional group, who carried on as they had done in art school, doing still life, life painting and figure compositions; and then what I thought of as the more adventurous, lively students, the brightest ones, who were involved in the art of their time. They were doing big Abstract Expressionist paintings on hardboard.”
Hockney duly tried his hand at abstraction, but found it too sterile. He was at this moment in a phase of rapid self-discovery on both artistic and personal levels, coming to terms with his own sexuality, and at the same time searching for a style. Since figure-painting seemed 'anti-modern' Hockney began by including words in his paintings as a way of humanizing them, but these were soon joined by figures painted in a deliberately rough and rudimentary style, which owed a great deal to Jean Dubuffet. Hockney's ebullient personality soon made him well known, even outside the Royal College, and he made his first major impact as a painter with the January 1961 Young Contemporaries Exhibition. This show marked the public emergence of a new Pop movement in Britain, with Hockney considered one of its leaders.
In the same year Hockney made a series of discoveries. He visited New York, where he met Andy Warhol and Dennis Hopper among others, and was struck by the freedom of American society. It was at this stage that he bleached his hair and began to present a new image, fueled not only by the United States but also by his discovery of the poetry of Walt Whitman. Hockney had begun to make etchings, and on his return to England began a series of prints which reflected his American experiences. He also visited Italy for the first time in December 1961 and Berlin in 1962.
Hockney's success was so rapid that he became independent very soon after leaving the Royal College and did not, like the vast majority of his contemporaries, have to rely on teaching in order to make a living. In 1963 he traveled to Egypt at the invitation of the London Sunday Times, and then at the end of the year went to Los Angeles, a city he had always fantasized about: “Within a week of arriving there in this strange big city, not knowing a soul, I'd passed the driving test, bought a car, driven to Las Vegas and won some money, got myself a studio, started painting, all within a week. And I thought, it's just how I imagined it would be.”
The Los Angeles landscape and lifestyle became important features of Hockney's work. There were other important changes in his work as well as he started using acrylics rather than oil paint, and he made increasing use of photography for purposes of documentation. His life was professionally successful--he had no fewer than five one-man exhibitions in Europe in 1966--and he was personally happy. In 1970, Hockney had his first major retrospective exhibition; it was held at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London.
In 1973, Hockney went to live in Paris. While there he took the opportunity to work with Aldo and Piero Crommelynck, who had been Picasso's master printers, and he produced a series of etchings in memory of Picasso who had died earlier that year. Picasso had been one of Hockney's heroes since he saw the Picasso exhibition at the Tate Gallery in the summer of 1960. In 1974, there was a large exhibition of Hockney's work at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. His easel paintings made during the 1980s show the influence of Matisse and Picasso.
Hockney was also experimenting both with large composite photographs and with works made of paper pulp impregnated with color--the Paper Pools. From 1982 Hockney explored the use of the camera, making composite images of Polaroid photographs arranged in a rectangular grid. Later he used regular 35-millimetre prints to create photo-collages, compiling a 'complete' picture from a series of individually photographed details.
After working with California master printer Ken Tyler in the 1980s making etchings and lithographs, Hockney explored ways of creating work with color photocopiers in 1986. “The works I did with the copying machine ...were not reproductions,” he said later, “they were very complex prints.” Subject to the same curiosity about new technical methods, he began to experiment with the fax machine, and in 1989 even sent work for the Sao Paulo Biennale to Brazil via fax. Experiments using computers followed, composing images and colors on the screen and having them printed directly from the computer disk without preliminary proofing.
Major retrospectives of Hockney's work have been held in New York, Los Angeles and Europe. Technical experimentation has continued to inform and develop his work.
In 2008, Hockney called on Britian’s most celebrated artists to donate at least one piece of their work to the Tate Modern saying that it was the duty of artists to give something back to an institution whose support had ensured that they not struggle in their early years. David Hockney primarily works in his studio in the Hollywood Hills near Los Angeles in California, where he has lived permanently since 1978.
“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.”
Select Museum Collections:
Art Institute of Chicago, IL
Tate Gallery, London
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
National Gallery of Australia
Royal Academy of Arts, London
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
|Biography from Leslie Sacks Fine Art:|
|One of the most widely acclaimed of all living artists, David Hockney’s popularity is based on the enormous, continuing appeal of his pictures and the popular perception of him as a colorful extrovert. David Hockney has worked in a wide variety of media including painting, graphics, photography and theater design as well as a versatile selection of subject matter ranging from famous portraits to landscapes of southern California. |
Hockney was born in Yorkshire, England in 1937. David Hockney first came to public prominence in the early sixties, as a post-graduate student of painting at the Royal College of Art in London. David Hockney experimented with numerous styles and became one of the most important portraitists of his era, renowned for depictions of family and people he met in his extensive travels. His work demonstrates a wish to uphold the human figure as a fit subject of painting, as well as an interest in imagery drawn from the urban environment. Despite his shouting ‘I am not a Pop artist’ during a private view party in 1962, Hockney’s student work is conventionally seen as contributing to the development of Pop Art in Britain.
In 1964, David Hockney moved to Los Angeles. In that year a swimming pool first appeared in the seminal painting, The California Collector, and David Hockney continued to paint the subject passionately. In these early water pictures, David Hockney was influenced by the abstract, interlocking puzzle–piece surface of Jean Dubuffet’s work. Hockney’s early pool water was stylized in a flat, modern manner in which looping spaghetti like lines complicate the notion of moving water. Over the next several years, portraiture and photography primarily occupied the artist, and he developed an intimate and powerful naturalism in this period.
David Hockney abandoned painting for a time in the mid-seventies to concentrate on drawing and print-making. Not many paintings were produced during the early eighties either, the artist preferring to spend his time constructing collages from photographs. These photo-collages were recently exhibited in a retrospective of the artist’s photography at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Hockney's originality as a printmaker was apparent by the time he produced A Rake's Progress, a series of 16 etchings conceived as a contemporary and autobiographical version of William Hogarth's visual narrative. Hockney's large body of graphic work, concentrating on etching and lithography, in itself assured him an important place in modern British art, and in series inspired by literary sources such as Illustrations for Fourteen Poems from C. P. Cavafy, Illustrations for Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, and The Blue Guitar, he did much to revive the tradition of the livre d'artiste.
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