David Hockney, is perhaps best known for his serial paintings of swimming pools, portraits of friends and landscapes. An important contributor to the pop art movement of the 60’s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century.

One of five children, David Hockney was born into a working class family in Bradford, England. As a school boy, Hockney described himself as ‘quite serious, but cheeky.’ Art was something he knew he wanted to do from an early age, so when he was forced to drop art at school he deliberately failed all his exams.

David Hockney in his workshop in his earlier years. Credit: davidhockney.co

At 16, Hockney studied at the Bradford School of Art where he practised traditional painting and life drawing and later moved to study at the Royal College of Art, London where he said he felt at home and took pride in his work.

In 1963, Hockney had his first solo show at John Kasmin’s gallery which proved very successful. The following year he moved to LA, which he liked so much that he resided almost permanently, teaching at universities including Berkeley and UCLA. During this period, he painted some of his best works including A Bigger Splash (1967). He also began to design productions for the ballet, opera and theatre.

A Bigger Splash. Credit: davidhockney.co

In LA, during the ‘swinging 60s’, Hockney embraced the mood of exploration and experimentation. At a time when homosexuality was still illegal in the USA and Britain, Hockney was open about his love affairs which attracted attention from newspapers around the world. By the mid 70’s he was a worldwide name and a film was directed about him and he published an autobiography.

The 90’s were a very productive period for Hockney, with a number of exhibitions being held around the world. One of his most important works, A Closer Grand Canyon, explored changing perceptions of the Grand Canyon over the centuries.

A Closer Grand Canyon. Credit: davidhockney.co

In 2011, a poll of British art students rated Hockney as the most influential artist of all time. His work has played a crucial role in reviving the practice of figurative painting. To this day he continues to reinvent himself, embracing new technology. His most recent series of works were produced on an iPad.

One of David Hockney's iPad paintings. Credit: davidhockney.co

Find current and upcoming David Hockney exhibitions here.

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