Pop ArtHockney, David
British painter, draughtsman, printmaker, photographer, and designer.
After a brilliant prize-winning career as a student at the
Royal College of Art, Hockney had achieved international success by
the time he was in his mid-20s, and has since consolidated his position
as by far the best-known British artist of his generation.
His phenomenal success has been based not only on the flair, wit, and
versatility of his work, but also on his colorful personality, which has
made him a recognizable figure even to people not particularly interested
in art: a film about him entitled A Bigger Splash (1974)
enjoyed considerable popularity in the commercial cinema.
Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy
1970 (130 Kb); Acrylic on canvas, 304 x 213 cm (120 x 84 in)
His early paintings, often almost jokey in mood, gained him a reputation
although he himself rejected the label. In the late
1960s he turned to a weightier, more traditionally representational manner,
in which he has painted some striking portraits
(Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, Tate, London, 1970-01).
He has spent much of his time in the USA, and the Californian swimming pool
has been one of his favourite themes
(A Bigger Splash, Tate, 1967).
Often his work has a strong homo-erotic content.
Hockney is a brilliant draughtsman and has been as outstanding as a graphic
artist as he has as a painter, his work in this field including etched
illustrations to Cavafy's Poems (1967) and
Six Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (1969).
In the 1970s he came to the fore also as a stage designer, notably with
his set and costume designs for Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress
and Mozart's The Magic Flute produced at Glyndebourne in 1975
and 1978 respectively. The broader style demanded by stage design is
reflected in his most recent easel paintings.
In the 1980s he has experimented much with photography, producing, for
example, photographic collages and -- since 1986 -- prints created on
photocopiers. Hockney is a perceptive commentator on art and in 1976
published a book on his own work,
David Hockney by David Hockney.
Technically, it is true to say that the Pop movement started with Richard
Hamilton and David Hockney in England. Hockney's early work made superb
use of the popular magazine-style images on which much of Pop Art is based.
However, when Hockney moved to California in the 1960s, he responded with
such artistic depth to the sea, sun, sky, young men, and luxury that his
art took on a wholly new, increasingly naturalistic dimension. Though one
A Bigger Splash
a simplistic rather than a simplified view of the world, it nevertheless
creates a delightful interplay between the stolid pink verticals of a Los
Angeles setting and the exuberance of spray as the unseen diver enters the
pool. There is no visible human presence here, just that lonely, empty chair
and a bare, almost frozen world. Yet that wild white splash can only come
from another human, and a great deal of Hockney's psyche is involved in
the mix of lucidity and confusion of this picture.
Man Taking Shower in Beverly Hills
1964 (110 Kb); Acrylic on canvas, 167 x 167 cm (65 1/2 x 65 1/2 in);
Tate Gallery, London
Portrait Surrounded by Artistic Devices
1965 (80 Kb); Acrylic on canvas, 153 x 183 cm (60 x 72 in);
Arts Council of Great Britain
Portrait of Nick Wilder
1966 (100 Kb); Acrylic on canvas, 183 x 183 cm (72 x 72 in);
A Lawn Being Sprinkled
1967 (130 Kb); Acrylic on canvas, 153 x 153 cm (96 x 96 in);
Collection of Lyn and Norman Lear
Three Chairs with a Section of a Picasso Mural
1970 (100 Kb); Acrylic on canvas, 122 x 152.4 cm (48 x 60 in);
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Ahmet Ertegun
Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)
1971 (110 Kb); Acrylic on canvas, 214 x 304.8 cm (84 x 120 in);
Collection David Geffen
Model with Unfinished Self-Portrait
1977 (120 Kb); Oil on canvas, 152 x 152 cm (60 x 60 in);
Collection Werner Boeninger
1980 (170 Kb); Acrylic on canvas, 213.3 x 152.4 cm (84 x 60 in);
Mr. and Mrs. Richard C. Hedreen
Place Furstenberg, Paris, August 7,8,9, 1985 #1
1985 (220 Kb); Photographic collage, 88.9 x 80 cm (35 x 31 1/2 in);
Collection of the artist
Pearblossom Highway, 11-18th April 1986 #2
1986 (190 Kb); Photographic collage, 198 x 282 cm (78 x 111 in);
Collection the artist