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David Hockney

(b. 1937) English painter and draughtsman


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(1937– )

British painter, etcher, and draughtsman, who won international success while still a student at the Royal College of Art, London. He was appointed CH in 1997.

Hockney's initial training was at his local art school in Bradford. At the Royal College (1959–62) he developed an individual style that was representational but deliberately naive, showing the influence of abstract art, children's drawings, and graffiti. A light ironic humour characterizes these pictures, whose themes are usually either autobiographical, as in Flight into Italy – Swiss Landscape, or, in his own words, ‘propaganda for homosexuality’, as in We Two Boys Together Clinging.

Between 1964 and 1967 he taught in the USA and developed his Californian style. Rejecting abstraction, these paintings depict figures amidst flat, almost shadowless, architecture, lawns, and swimming pools. A characteristic painting, A Bigger Splash, is one of many that reveal Hockney's delight in rendering moving water. After 1968 Hockney began to create deeper space in his pictures without abandoning his striving towards clarity, as in the many closely observed double portraits. His etched illustrations for Grimm's Fairy Tales in 1969 were a perfect vehicle for his wit and sense of fantasy. His many drawings of friends in this period began as a form of note taking on his frequent travels but in the early seventies, during his Paris period, drawing became an end in itself. A similar development took place with photography in the eighties, as seen in David Hockney: Cameraworks (1984) and Hockney on Photography (1988). Off the Wall: Hockney Posters appeared in 1994. From the mid-seventies Hockney moved constantly between homes in Paris, London, New York, and Los Angeles. He has published two volumes of autobiography, David Hockney, Travel with Pen, Pencil and Ink (1978) and That's the Way I See It (1993). He became an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1985.

Subjects: art.


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