David Hockney is a well-known contemporary painter who revolutionized the style of painting known as ‘British Pop art.’ Without limiting himself to landscapes or portraits, David explored odd obsessions such as Los Angeles’ swimming pools and homosexuality. With such unconventional subjects, his works garnered widespread acclaim and favorable reception from both art patrons and critics. During the 1980’s decade, David Hockney even experimented with photography, introducing a new style of art known as ‘The Joiners’. The artist, who believed that photography with a wide lens, which was popular at the time, was tedious, combined pieces of Polaroid to create unique images that told short stories. The artist’s reputation attracted the attention of art schools, which invited David to teach their students about art. Additionally, the artist has expressed his views on art in a number of books, including ‘Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters’ and ‘Martha’s Vineyard and Other Places: My Third Sketchbook from the Summer of 1982. Hockney has also been recognized for his contributions to art by a number of institutions, including an honor from the monarch ‘Queen Elizabeth’. Numerous exhibitions were organized in tribute to the artist’s works, allowing many art patrons to witness his brilliance. Even today, he continues to inspire a large number of painters.
Childhood & Adolescence
David was the fourth child born to Kenneth and Laura Hockney on July 9th, 1937 in Bradford, England. During World War II, his father was a conscientious objector.
The young lad attended schools such as ‘Wellington Primary School’ and ‘Bradford Grammar School’ for his elementary education. In 1953, he enrolled at the ‘Bradford College of Art’ to continue his studies. At this institution, the budding artist was introduced to oil painting.
After completing his studies at the ‘Bradford College of Art,’ Hockney transferred to London’s ‘Royal College of Art’ in 1959 to continue his education. During his time at Royal College, David met the renowned American artist R.B Kitaj, who had a significant influence on him.
The young artist even had a solo exhibition at this illustrious institution, alongside works by other artists such as Peter Blake. This exhibition of contemporary art, dubbed ‘Young Contemporaries,’ introduced art enthusiasts to a new style of painting known as British pop art.
Career of David
David first gained prominence in 1961 with the work ‘We Two Boys Together Clinging’. Numerous viewers interpreted the painting as having a strong proclivity toward homosexuality.
The artist created a magnificent work of art titled ‘The Diploma’ in 1962. Hockney used this work to vent his rage at the ‘Royal College of Art’ administration for denying him the opportunity to graduate from the institution at the time.
In 1963, he relocated to Los Angeles, owing to his love for America and an unquenchable obsession with Hollywood. The following year, he painted ‘Domestic Scene, Los Angeles,’ another depiction of homosexuality.
Hockney began teaching at the ‘University of Iowa’ in 1964, after the institution invited him to impart art lessons. While the artist considered the work mundane, his time at the University enabled him to create four paintings in a matter of weeks.
The artist’s passion for Los Angeles compelled him to relocate to the city in 1966. The city’s swimming pools piqued his interest and inspired the artist to create works such as ‘A Bigger Splash’ and ‘Portrait of an Artist’.
David’s work catapulted him to the status of an iconic artist during the 1970’s. Several of his works were released during the first half of the decade, including ‘Three Chairs with a Section of a Picasso Mural’, ‘La Chaise’, ‘Celia in a Wicker Chair’, and ‘Hollywood Tree’.
Hockney created masterpieces such as ‘Celia Observing’, ‘The Buzzing of the Blue Guitar’, and ‘Portrait of Henry Geldzahler’ between 1975 and 1980.
During the 1980’s, this artist transitioned from painting to collages created with photographs. ‘Joiners’ was the name given to this new artistic experiment. Davis combined photographs and Polaroid prints to create remarkable works of art.
During this time period, he created works such as ‘Pearblossom Highway #2’ and ‘Kasmin, 1982’. Additionally, the artist created over a dozen paintings during this time period, which received widespread acclaim from art enthusiasts and critics.
In 1985, this artist was commissioned by the world-famous fashion magazine ‘Vogue’ to design the French edition’s cover page. Numerous art enthusiasts believed that the artist was inspired to create this work by his admiration for the legendary painter Pablo Picasso.
He was one of the first few people to popularize the use of a painting software called ‘Quantel Paintbox’ in the same year.
Between 1985 and 1990, the artist created additional works such as ‘Malibu House,’ ‘Green and Blue Paint,’ ‘Red and Black Fruit,’ ‘Henry,’ and ‘Used Chair.
In the 1990’s, Hockney painted several portraits, including ‘Jonathan Silver’, ‘Gregory Evans’, ‘Ken Wathey’, and ‘Mum’. Apart from these, his paintings such as ‘The Other Side,’ ‘Dog Painting,’ and ‘Three Sunflowers and a Water Bottle’, all of which were released during this time period, received widespread acclaim.
Hockney began frequent visits to Yorkshire in early 2005 and began creating paintings inspired by the city’s environment.
Significant Works of David
David’s largest painting to date, as well as one of his best, was released in 2007. This work of art, titled ‘Bigger Trees Near Warter,’ measured approximately 15 feet by 40 feet. This painting was exhibited at the ‘Royal Academy of Art’ gallery.
Honors and Commendations
In 1993, the ‘Archives of American Art’ presented David with its first annual achievement award.
In 1997, he was inducted into the ‘American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ as an honorary member.
In 2006, The ‘National Portrait Gallery’ in London organized an exhibition of Hockney’s paintings as a tribute to the artist’s contribution to the field of fine art.
The ‘Royal Academy’ of London hosted a three-month exhibition titled ‘A Bigger Picture’ that featured numerous works by this renowned artist.
In honor of the artist, the ‘de Young Museum’ in San Francisco organized an exhibition titled ‘David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition. To the delight of art lovers, dozens of the artist’s works were exhibited.
Personal History and Legacies
Hockney’s mother died in 1999; the artist even dedicated a painting to his mother, whom he adored.
The gifted artist has publicly acknowledged his homosexuality, and several of his works reflect his homosexual personality.
Christopher Simon Sykes, a writer and photographer, authored a book titled ‘David Hockney: A Rake’s Progress’ in 2012. The same year, an indie-pop album titled ‘Mia Pharaoh’ was released, featuring a song titled ‘Afternoons with David Hockney’.
David Hockney is the author of over a dozen books, the most popular of which are ’72 Drawings’, ‘Hockney’s Pictures’, ‘David Hockney: Poster Art’, and ‘Travels With Pen, Pencil, and Ink’. Hockney’s net worth was estimated to be approximately $55.2 million in 2012.
Hockney’s life inspired the 1974 film ‘The Bigger splash’. The film’s title was inspired by a well-known painting by the same name by the artist.
Estimated Net Worth
David Hockney has a net worth of $150 million. He is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer, and photographer. Hockney became the world’s most expensive living artist in November 2018 when one of his paintings sold for $90.3 million. Earlier this year, another of his works was sold for $28.5 million.