David Hockney - Picture of the artist - Image via netdna-cdncom

David Hockney

United Kingdom 1937

Pop Art


David Hockney
David Hockney
United Kingdom
June 30, 2016
Andreja Velimirović is a passionate content writer with a knack for art and old movies. Majoring in art history, he is an expert on avant-garde modern movements and medieval church fresco decorations. Feel free to contact him via his Linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreja-velimirovi%C4%87-74068a68/

Watching the paintings of David Hockney is a unique experience of witnessing a whole new creative dimension designed by a man that never followed popular standards and patterns but rather chose to set his own norms and leave the following to others. Hockney is an English painter, printmaker, photographer and stage designer who was an important contributor to the Pop art movement in Britain and remained a crucial figure of modern art scene to this day. He is famed for his stylistic versatility, but unlike most of the fellow artists out there, David never forsake the previous concepts as he was discovering new preferable styles – he would instead build on the previous concepts and expand his impressive creative arsenal. Shortly put, Hockney is undoubtedly one of the most influential British painters of the 20th century.

David Hockney - Woldgate Woods, 2006 - Image via styleandthensomecom tate portrait
David Hockney – Woldgate Woods, 2006 – Image via styleandthensome.com

Early Life

David Hockney was born in Bradford, England, on the 9th of July of 1937. His parents Laura and Kenneth Hockney eventually had a large family of five kids, with David being the fourth one in a row. Setting the hardships of World War II that were ripping Europe limb from limb on the other side of the La Manche, Hockney had a very happy childhood in his small hometown tucked away in West Yorkshire. He began showing small flashes of artistic brilliance ever since he was a toddler and it didn’t take too long for his parents to figure out he should be supported and encouraged to go down the path of artistic creation. Hockney received an immense education at Bradford College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London which in return to his efforts gave him a masterful command over understanding and expressing himself in all matters concerning art. David’s spent his college days in London tirelessly making a name for himself and meeting similar minded fellow artists, some of whom will prove to be very crucial for the art scene as well, like the R.B. Kitaj. Nearing the end of his collegiate endeavors at the Royal College of Art, Hockney featured in the exhibition Young Contemporaries alongside Peter Blake – this show is often regarded as the one that announced the arrival of British Pop art, an exhibition which allowed visitors to see what the likes of Hockney and his friends had in store for the future of UK’s art. Interestingly enough, David’s initial pieces actually revealed flashes of expressionist elements above all, very comparable in nature to the works of Francis Bacon and not too correlated with the concepts of the early Pop art. Nevertheless, David Hockney became a blindingly bright star on the rise and his reputation grew overnight. At one point it seemed as he even became more influential than the actual Royal College of Art, like the time David refused to write an essay required for the final examination, insisting he should be assessed solely on his artworks – the RCA actually changed its regulations and awarded the diploma despite the strict rules.

The first sudden alteration of David’s style came in the 60s as he started incorporating swimming pools in all his works, substituting the expressive elements he employed previously

drawings 2014 photography life tate portrait
David Hockney – Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1971 – Image via ibiblio.org

Evolution of David’s Art

Even before he became an era-defining artist, Hockney found ways to reintegrate a personal subject-matter into his compositions. The first recognizable sign of such concepts appearing in his work came to be just after he graduated when David started experimenting by copying fragments of poems and placing them on canvas. This not only created a specific individual identity through the alliance of word and image but also encouraged a close scrutiny of the painting surface. These concepts eventually led Hockney to the famed series of paintings produced in 1960/61 that focused on the themes of homosexual love. The next creative step of Hockney’s career occurred after a visit to California where he subsequently lived for many years – it motivated and inspired him to make a series of paintings depicting swimming pools in a highly realistic style focusing on the usage of vibrant colors. This radical alteration of David’s style was one of the rare instances of changing the very roots of one’s art, as he suddenly concentrated on acrylic depictions of athletic young men, swimming pools, palm trees and perpetual sunshine. Hockney spent the 60s and 70s exploring stylistic boundaries and traveling between London and Los Angeles, as well as the beloved Paris which served as a calming retreat. As the early 1980s were passing along, David began to produce photo collages – or joiners as he preferred to call them – which will eventually prove to be an important milestone of his career. Initially using Polaroid prints and subsequently turning to the 35mm commercially-processed color prints, Hockney stopped painting for a while to exclusively pursue this new technique and see if it allowed more expressive freedom. However, David soon became frustrated with the one-eyed limitations rooted in the very ideas of photography and eventually returned to painting – nevertheless, the joiners were a massive expansion on the creative front and they served him much good in the long run.

Hockney spent a short period of time exclusively making 30pm photographic collages during the early 80s

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David Hockney – Pearblossom Highway, 1986 – Image via ibiblio.org

Mature Artworks of Hockney’s Canvas

Besides doing what every artist does and that is creating for his own imaginative soul, Hockney also worked on many commissions over the years. As he had the commodity to freely choose on what he desired to work, David often accepted the jobs of designing stages and this became one of his trademarks. He worked for the likes of Royal Court Theatre, Glyndebourne, La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, leaving permanent marks in all these prestigious ballet and opera locations and adjusting synesthetic colors in response to musical stimuli – this feat does not appear in his painting or photography artworks, but is a common underlying principle in his designs for stage sets. As the 90s were passing by, David worked extensively with landscapes, depicting different sights with a strong and unnatural coloration – these pieces are considered to be some of the greatest landscape paintings of the 20th century. They are vivid, incredibly composed, imaginative and one hundred percent unique – all of which makes them instantly recognizable. In the year of 2001, Hockney launched a book titled as Secret Knowledge that proved to be a great commercial and critical success. In it, David presented a theory that the Old Masters relied on what he called camera obscura technique – a projection of the image onto the surface of the painting. He stated that this technique migrated gradually from Italy and is the main reason for the revered photo-realistic style of painting we see in the Renaissance and later periods of art. In more recent years, David has been expanding his concepts of colorful depictions, continuing to paint fabulous landscape pieces full of bright and unnatural colors. He also continued to paint realistically, finding a perfect balance between his old photorealistic collage pieces and the younger affinity to landscapes and colors.

The unnaturally colored and grand landscapes remain the arguable highlight of Hockney’s artwork

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David Hockney – Garrowby Hill, 1998 – Image via theguardian.com

Britain’s Sub for Jones and Warhol

While the legendary Andy Warhol was setting the Pop standards on the other side of Atlantic, David Hockney played the exact same role in the British Pop art scene, dictating the very course that served as a guiding star for most English contemporary artists. David was celebrated in the United States as well but fell short in popularity behind the aforementioned Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Jasper Johns as the American trio was simply too successful to be rivaled with. Nevertheless, Hockney was the go-to-guy when it came to British Pop art and undoubtedly made his mark on the European modern art, influencing generations upon generations for decades.

This artist is represented by Marlborough Fine Art London, Marlborough Gallery Monaco, Woodward Gallery New York, Pace Gallery London, Pace Gallery Beijing, Pace Gallery Menlo Park, Pace Gallery Hong Kong, Puccio Fine Art, Galerie Fluegel-Roncak, Puccio Fine Art and Gregg Shienbaum Fine Art Miami.

David Hockney lives and works in Los Angeles and London.

Featured Image: David Hockney – Picture of the artist – Image via netdna-cdn.com
All images used for illustrative purposes only

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2016David Hockney - The Yosemite Suite Annely Juda Fine Art, LondonSolo
2016Holiday - Summer Group ShowIBID Projects, LondonGroup
2016Made In Britain: Michael Craig-Martin, David Hockney, Patrick Hughes Und Julian OpieGalerie Boisserée, Cologne Group
2016Made in CaliforniaMana Contemporary, Jersey City, NJGroup
2015David Hockney - Early DrawingsPaul Kasmin Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2015David Hockney: Painting and Photography L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CASolo
2015David Hockney - The Arrival of SpringAnnely Juda Fine Art, LondonSolo
2015David Hockney - Painting and Photography Annely Juda Fine Art, LondonSolo
2015David Hockney: Words and PicturesTel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel AvivSolo
2015David Hockney - The Arrival of Spring Pace Beijing, BeijingSolo
2014The Arrival of SpringThe Pace Gallery - 508 W 25th Street, New York City, NYSolo
2014David Hockney: The Arrival Of SpringL.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CASolo
2014David Hockney - The Arrival of SpringAnnely Juda Fine Art, LondonSolo
2014David Hockney: The JugglersLos Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA, Los Angeles, CASolo
2014Liverpool Biennial - Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2014Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art, LiverpoolGroup
2014It´s PopArt ? LEVY Galerie, HamburgGroup
2014British Pop PrintsAllentown Art Museum, Allentown, PAGroup
2014Garden PartyNassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NYGroup
2014Inspiration Points: Masterpieces of California LandscapeOakland Museum of California, Oakland, CAGroup
2014Haunted HouseGrundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, LancashireGroup
2013David Hockney - The Thrill is SpatialRichard Gray Gallery - Chicago, Chicago, ILSolo
2013David Hockney: Seven Yorkshire Landscape VideosLos Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA, Los Angeles, CASolo
2013David Hockney: A Bigger ExhibitionThe de Young Museum, San Francisco, CASolo
2013David Hockney: Early reflectionsWalker Art Gallery, LiverpoolSolo
2013David Hockney: The JugglersWhitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NYSolo
2013Drawing in a Printing MachineGalerie Lelong - Paris, ParisSolo
2013Under the Influence of Finance and Fashion:  Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art FoundationCarnegie Art Museum, Oxnard, CAGroup
2013Displays: The Eric & Jean Cass GiftContemporary Art Society, LondonGroup
2013When Britain Went Pop British Pop Art: The Early YearsChristie’s Mayfair, LondonGroup
2013Wild Kingdom: Prints of BritainDes Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IAGroup
2013Xerograhy - firstsiteThe minories art gallery, ColchesterGroup
2013Modernism in Changing Times: Works From 1968Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Charlotte, NCGroup
2013Composite Landscapes: Photomontage and Landscape ArchitectureIsabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MAGroup
201340 Years of Fine Art: Part OneBohun Gallery, Henley-on-Thames, OxfordshireGroup
2013Master DrawingsThe Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, OxfordGroup
2013All You Need IS LOVEMori Art Museum, TokyoGroup
2013The Polaroid YearsThe Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NYGroup
2013Waiting for the Barbarians: Report to CavafyKalfayan Galleries - Athen, AthensGroup
2013The Naked Man - Ludwig MuseumMuseum of Contemporary Art - Budapest, BudapestGroup
2013Give me fiveStädel Museum, Frankfurt/MainGroup
2013Contra TàpiesFundación Antoni Tàpies, BarcelonaGroup
2013The Artist and the PoetThe Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, ILGroup
2012David Hockney - selected printsGalerie Boisserée, CologneSolo
2012David Hockney. A Bigger PictureMuseum Ludwig, CologneSolo
2012David Hockney: New AcquisitionsIndiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, INSolo
2012Display - David Hockney: A Rake’s ProgressAbbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, CumbriaSolo
2012David Hockney RA: A Bigger PictureRoyal Academy of Arts, LondonSolo
2012"Cartells" 1964-1986Galería Eude, BarcelonaSolo
2012David Hockney: Moving Focus / 34 Cork StreetAlan Cristea Gallery, LondonSolo
2012Aspects Of Modern British ArtAustin/Desmond Fine Art, LondonGroup
2012A Printmaking AbcBowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, MEGroup
2012A Bigger Splash: Painting after PerformanceTate Modern, LondonGroup
2012Master VisionsAnnandale Galleries, Annandale, NSWGroup
2012Tales of the CityGoMA - Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, ScotlandGroup
2012Hockney to Hogarth: A Rake’s ProgressWhitworth Art Gallery, ManchesterGroup
2012Gaze - The Changing Face of Portrait PhotographyIstanbul Modern, IstanbulGroup
2012MultiplicityArkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, ARGroup
2012Muse: Exploring InspirationRichard Gray Gallery - Chicago, Chicago, ILGroup
2012Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty YearsThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NYGroup
2012From The Permanent CollectionArt Gallery of Peterborough, Peterborough, ONGroup
2012British Pop Art PrintsBernard Jacobson Gallery, LondonGroup
2012Picasso & Modern British Art Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, ScotlandGroup
2012Paper BandJason McCoy Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2012ThresholdsMuseum of Contemporary Art Skopje, SkopjeGroup
2012Contemporary Print MakingJealous Gallery, LondonGroup
201285th Exhibition of Professional MembersArts Club of Chicago, Chicago, ILGroup
2012From Floor to CeilingGalleri Profilen, AarhusGroup
2012Paintings - Face to Face - Works from the Collection of the Kuntsi Foundation and the Swanljung CollectionKuntsi Museum of Modern Art, VaasaGroup
2012Interior SpacesLeslie Sacks Fine Art, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2012Pacific Standard TimeKunst in Los Angeles 1950–1980 - Martin-Gropius-Bau, BerlinGroup
2012Picasso and Modern British ArtTate Britain, LondonGroup
2012The Family in British ArtMuseums Sheffield: Millennium Gallery , SheffieldGroup
2012Now Emerging: The VisitationCirrus Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2012H is for…The Harley Gallery, Worksop, NottinghamshireGroup
2011Bigger Trees Near WarterCartwright Hall Art Gallery, BradfordSolo
2011Hockney in Los AngelesLeslie Sacks Fine Art, Los Angeles, CASolo
2011David Hockney: Through the Eyes of the ArtistSTPI - Singapore Tyler Print Institute, SingaporeSolo
2011David Hockney: Me Draw On IpadLouisiana Museum of Modern Art, HumlebækSolo
2011The Mystery of AppearanceHaunch of Venison - London, London (closed, 2013)Group
2011Between DimensionsMiddlesbrough Institute of Modern Art - MIMA, MiddlesbroughGroup
2011Notes Towards a Supreme FictionCeri Hand Gallery, Liverpool (closed, 2014)Group
2011Allen Jones and David HockneyOlympic Posters: Pop and Publicity - Wolverhampton Art Gallery, WolverhamptonGroup
2011Highlights from the Ernestine and Bradley Wayne CollectionGreenberg Van Doren Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2011Family Matters: The Family in British ArtNorwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, NorwichGroup
2011Nothing in the World But YouthTurner Contemporary, Margate, KentGroup
201110 Years of GalleryOneGalleryOne, Grayshott, East HampshireGroup
2011Signs of a Struggle: Photography in the Wake of PostmodernismVictoria & Albert Museum - V&A, LondonGroup
2011Luminous Paper: British Watercolors and DrawingsThe Getty Center, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2011Collectors’ Choice: Selections from the Jay and Jane Braus CollectionBerkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MAGroup
2011Surrounding Bacon & WarholAstrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, OsloGroup
2011A Sense of Place: Landscapes From Monet to HockneyBellagio Gallery of Fine Art, Las Vegas, NVGroup
2011Face to FaceGerald Peters Gallery - Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NMGroup
2011Compass - Drawings from the Museum of Modern Art New YorkMartin-Gropius-Bau, BerlinGroup
2011Pop and AbstractNational Museum Cardiff, Cardiff, WalesGroup
2011Spring Collection: Modern & Contemporary ArtOsborne Samuel, LondonGroup
2011The Truth is Not in the Mirror - Photography and a Constructed IdentityHaggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WIGroup
2011Drawn from LifeAbbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, CumbriaGroup
2010David Hockney: Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers GrimmBradford 1 Gallery, BradfordSolo
2010David Hockney : Six Tales from the Brothers GrimmBerwick Gymnasium Gallery, Berwick-Upon-TweedSolo
2010Let Us Face the Future - British Art 1945-1968Fundación Joan Miró, BarcelonaGroup
2010FigurationL.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CAGroup
2010Objects of DelightQUAD Gallery, DerbyGroup
2010Hyper RealMuseum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig - MUMOK , ViennaGroup
2010The EtchingLeslie Sacks Fine Art, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2010Master Prints from the Gallery CollectionLeslie Sacks Fine Art, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2010French & English 20th Century paintingsFrost and Reed Contemporary, LondonGroup
2010The Facebook ShowMuseum of New Art - MONA, Pontiac, MIGroup
2010Photo/SynthesisThe de Young Museum, San Francisco, CAGroup
2010Modern and Contemporary ArtOsborne Samuel, LondonGroup
2009David Hockney: Paintings 2006-2009The Pace Gallery - 534 West 25th Street, New York City, NYSolo
2009David Hockney: PortraitsPace Prints, New York City, NYSolo
2009David Hokney & Malcom MorleyGallery Artzone-Kaguraoka, KyotoDuo
2009Drawing in a Printing MachineL.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CASolo
2009PerspectivesMaison des Arts de Grand Quevilly, Grand-QuevillyGroup
2009MOCA´s First Thirty YearsMOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2009Shake It: An Instant History of the PolaroidPump House Gallery, LondonGroup
2009The Artist's StudioCompton Verney, Compton Verney, WarwickshireGroup
2009Summer SelectDavid Klein Gallery, Birmingham, MIGroup
2008David Hockney: Looking at Woldgate WoodsArts Club of Chicago, Chicago, ILSolo
2007David Hockney - Myself and my HeroesHamburger Kunsthalle, HamburgSolo
2007Homage to Picasso: Hockney’s Blue GuitarThe McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TXSolo
2007David Hockney: Words&Pictures Four Print Portfolios 1961-1977
Galería Arnés + Röpke, MadridSolo
2007David Hockney - Words & Pictures
Esterházy Palace, BratislavaSolo
2007The East Yorkshire Landscape - David HockneyL.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CASolo
2006David Hockney: Portraits
NPG - National Portrait Gallery, LondonSolo
2006David Hockney - A Year in YorkshireAnnely Juda Fine Art, LondonSolo
2006Sitting Still: Portraits & Still LifeLeslie Sacks Fine Art, Los Angeles, CASolo
2006David Hockney - PortraitsLos Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA, Los Angeles, CASolo
2006David Hockney PortraitsMFA - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, MASolo
2005David Hockney - Hand Eye HeartL.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CASolo
2004Cavafy and Blue Guitar Suites - David HockneyNorth Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, NDSolo
2004David Hockney - An Intimate EyeRichard Gray Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2003David Hockney - Painting on PaperAnnely Juda Fine Art, LondonSolo
2002David Hockney - Stage WorksRichard Gray Gallery - Chicago, Chicago, ILSolo
2002David Hockney - Stage WorksRichard Gray Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2001David Hockney Retrospective: PhotoworksMOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CASolo
2001David Hockney - Exciting times are aheadKunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, BonnSolo
2001David Hockney Retrospective photoworksWäinö Aaltonen Museum, TurkuSolo
2000David Hockney - PrintsSusan Sheehan Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2000David Hockney: Camera Lucida DrawingsL.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CASolo
2000David Hockney Retrospective, PhotoworksLiljevalchs konsthall, StockholmSolo
2000Likeness. Recent Portrait Drawings By David HockneyHammer Museum, Los Angeles, CASolo
1999Four Decades of Selected GraphicsLeslie Sacks Fine Art, Los Angeles, CASolo
1999David Hockney - Space & LineRichard Gray Gallery - New York, New York City, NYSolo
1999David Hockney - Centre PompidouMusée National d´Art Moderne, ParisSolo
1998David Hockney: Looking At Landscape / Being In LandscapeL.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CASolo
1998David Hockney: A Bigger Grand CanyonSmithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DCSolo
1997David Hockney - Photo-RetrospektiveMuseum Ludwig, CologneSolo
1997David Hockney’s Snails Space: Painting as PerformanceSmithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DCSolo
1997David Hockney - Flowers, Faces and SpacesAnnely Juda Fine Art, LondonSolo
1996David Hockney: A Print RetrospectiveMuseum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT), TokyoSolo
1995David Hockney - Grimm's Fairy TalesUniversity Gallery and Baring Wing - Northumbria University, Newcastle upon TyneSolo
1995David Hockney: Some Very Large New Paintings With Twenty-Five Dogs Upstairs And Some Drawings Of FriendsL.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CASolo
1994David Hockney: Some New Paintings, Drawings, Prints And Gouaches 1989 - 1994L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CASolo
1993Hockney's OperaHiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, HiroshimaSolo
1992David Hockney - Grafiek/PrintsMuseum Boijmans van Beuningen, RotterdamSolo
1989David Hockney: 72 New PicturesL.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CASolo
1988David Hockney - The Blue GuitarLWL - Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Münster, MünsterSolo
1986David Hockney's Photocollages: A Wider PerspectiveICP - International Center of Photography, New York City, NYSolo