David Hockney

Great Artists

David Hockney

British-born, but deeply influenced by his adopted Los Angeles home, David Hockney created a series of paintings of vibrantly colored swimming pools. The intense light and California aesthetic inspired him, and he moved permanently to Los Angeles in 1978.

[David Hockney, Portrait of an Artist ( Pool with Two Figures), 1972.]

Hockney, who was born in Yorkshire, England in 1937, is a painter, printmaker, photographer, draughtsman, and stage designer. He is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century and an important part of the British Pop art movement of the 1960s. His paintings are known for their play of light and realism. He experimented with acrylics, watercolor, photography, drawing, and many other media, creating portraits, landscapes, and still life paintings. 

Hockney has been featured in over 400 solo exhibitions and over 500 group exhibitions. He studied at the Royal College of Art in England, where, the story goes, he tussled with the administration over a final assignment required for his graduation in 1962, a life drawing of a live model. In protest, he painted Life Painting for a Diploma, but he refused to write an essay about the work, insisting that his art was enough. The college eventually relented, changed its regulations, and awarded him a diploma, recognizing his talent and growing reputation. While a student, he had been part of the exhibition, "New Contemporaries," that kicked off British Pop art. Soon after college, Hockney moved to the United States where he taught art in colleges in Iowa, Colorado, and Los Angeles. In 2012, Queen Elizabeth appointed Hockney to the Order of Merit for citizens who distinguish themselves in art, literature, public service, and science.

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