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David Hockney
We Two Boys Together Clinging (1961)
Born 9 July 1937 (1937-07-09) (age 72)
Bradford, England
Nationality English
Field Painting, Set design, Photography
Movement Pop art

David Hockney, CH, RA, (born 9 July, 1937) is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, who is based in Bridlington, Yorkshire, although he also maintains a base in London. An important contributor to the Pop art movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century.[1]

Contents

Life

Hockney was born in Bradford and educated first at Wellington Primary School. He later went to Bradford Grammar School, Bradford College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London, where he met R. B. Kitaj. While still a student at the Royal College of Art, Hockney was featured in the exhibition Young Contemporaries—alongside Peter Blake—that announced the arrival of British Pop Art. He became associated with the movement, but his early works also display expressionist elements, not dissimilar to certain works by Francis Bacon. Sometimes, as in We Two Boys Together Clinging (1961), named after a poem by Walt Whitman, these works make reference to his love for men. From 1963, Hockney was represented by the influential art dealer John Kasmin. In 1963 Hockney visited New York, making contact with Andy Warhol. A later visit to California, where he lived for many years, inspired Hockney to make a series of paintings of swimming pools in Los Angeles, using the comparatively new Acrylic medium and rendered in a highly realistic style using vibrant colours. In 1967, his painting, Peter Getting Out Of Nick's Pool, won the John Moores Painting Prize at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. He also made prints, portraits of friends, and stage designs for the Royal Court Theatre, Glyndebourne, La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

Hockney's older sister, Margaret, who also lives in Yorkshire, is an artist of still-life photos.

Works

The "joiners"

David Hockney has also worked with photography, or, more precisely, photocollage. Using varying numbers of small Polaroid snaps or photolab-prints of a single subject Hockney arranged a patchwork to make a composite image. Because these photographs are taken from different perspectives and at slightly different times, the result is work that has an affinity with Cubism, which was one of Hockney's major aims—discussing the way human vision works. Some of these pieces are landscapes such as Pearblossom Highway #2,[1][2] others being portraits, e.g. Kasmin 1982,[3] and My Mother, Bolton Abbey, 1982.[4]

These photomontage works appeared mostly between 1970 and 1986. He referred to them as "joiners".[5] He began this style of art by taking Polaroid photographs of one subject and arranging them into a grid layout. The subject would actually move while being photographed so that the piece would show the movements of the subject seen from the photographer's perspective. In later works Hockney changed his technique and moved the camera around the subject instead.

Hockney's creation of the "joiners" occurred accidentally. He noticed in the late sixties that photographers were using cameras with wide-angle lenses to take pictures. He did not like such photographs because they always came out somewhat distorted. He was working on a painting of a living room and terrace in Los Angeles. He took Polaroid shots of the living room and glued them together, not intending for them to be a composition on their own. Upon looking at the final composition, he realized it created a narrative, as if the viewer was moving through the room. He began to work more and more with photography after this discovery and even stopped painting for a period of time to exclusively pursue this new style of photography. Frustrated with the limitations of photography and its 'one eyed' approach,[6] he later returned to painting.

Later works

In 1974, Hockney was the subject of Jack Hazan's film, A Bigger Splash (named after one of Hockney's swimming pool paintings from 1967).

In 1977 David Hockney authored a book, including the poetry of Wallace Stevens, of etchings called "The Blue Guitar: Etchings By David Hockney Who Was Inspired By Wallace Stevens Who Was Inspired By Pablo Picasso". The etchings, inspired by and meant to represent the themes of Stevens' poem, "The Man With The Blue Guitar". It was published as a portfolio and as a book in Spring, 1997 by Petersburg Press.[7]

Hockney was commissioned to design the cover and a series of pages for the December 1985 issue of the French edition of Vogue magazine. Consistent with his interest in Cubism and admiration for Pablo Picasso, Hockney chose to paint Celia Birtwell (who appears in several of his works) with different views—her facial features as if the eye had scanned her face diagonally.

Another important commission of his was to draw with the Quantel Paintbox, a computer program that allowed the artist to sketch direct onto the monitor screen. This commission was taken by Hockney in December 1985. Using this program was similar to drawing on the PET film for prints, which he had much experience in. His work created using the Quantel formed part of a BBC series featuring a number of artists.

A Bigger Grand Canyon, 1998, National Gallery of Australia.

His A Bigger Grand Canyon, a series of 60 paintings that combined to produce one enormous picture, was bought by the National Gallery of Australia for $4.6 million.

On 21 June 2006, his painting of The Splash fetched £2.6 million - a record for a Hockney painting.[8]

In October 2006 the National Portrait Gallery in London organized one of the largest ever displays of Hockney's portraiture work, including 150 of his paintings, drawings, prints, sketchbooks and photocollages from over the course of five decades. The collection consisted of his earliest self-portraits up into his latest work completed in 2005.[9] The exhibition proved to be one of the most successful in the gallery's history, and Hockney himself assisted in displaying the works. The exhibition ran until January 2007.

In June 2007, Hockney's largest painting, Bigger Trees Near Warter, which measures 15 x 40-foot, was hung in the Royal Academy's largest gallery in their annual Summer Exhibition.[10] This work "is a monumental-scale view of a coppice in Hockney's native Yorkshire, between Bridlington and York. It was painted on 50 individual canvases, mostly working in situ, over five weeks last winter."[11] In 2008, he donated this work to the Tate Gallery in London, saying: "I thought if I'm going to give something to the Tate I want to give them something really good. It's going to be here for a while. I don't want to give things I'm not too proud of...I thought this was a good painting because it's of England...it seems like a good thing to do".[12]

Many of Hockney's works are now housed in a converted industrial building called Salts Mill, in Saltaire, near his home town of Bradford.

Since 2009, Hockney has made drawings using the Brushes iPhone application. He spoke with Lawrence Weschler in an interview:

"It's always there in my pocket, there's no thrashing about, scrambling for the right color. One can set to work immediately, there's this wonderful impromptu quality, this freshness, to the activity; and when it's over, best of all, there's no mess, no clean-up. You just turn off the machine. Or, even better, you hit Send, and your little cohort of friends around the world gets to experience a similar immediacy. There's something, finally, very intimate about the whole process."[13]

Weschler's article also includes an audio slideshow of the images along with commentary from Weschler and Hockney himself.

The Hockney-Falco thesis

In the 2001 television programme and book, Secret Knowledge, Hockney posited that the Old Masters used camera obscura techniques, utilized with a concave mirror, which allowed the subject to be projected onto the surface of the painting. Hockney argues that this technique migrated gradually to Italy and most of Europe, and is the reason for the photographic style of painting we see in the Renaissance and later periods of art. This theory has been opposed by the Art Renewal Center who have published several articles attempting to disprove "Secret Knowledge" by means of historical documents and the experiences of living artists who do not use any photography yet have produced photorealistic drawings and paintings.[14][15][16]

Public life

A conscientious objector, Hockney worked as a medical orderly in hospitals as his National Service in the 1950s.

He was made a Companion of Honour in 1997 and is also a Royal Academician.

Hockney serves on the advisory board of the political magazine Standpoint,[17] and contributed original sketches for its launch edition, in June 2008.[18]

He is a staunch pro-tobacco campaigner and was invited to guest-edit the Today programme on 29 December 2009 to air his views on the subject.[19]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b J. Paul Getty Museum. David Hockney. Retrieved 13 September 2008.
  2. ^ Image of Pearblossom Highway
  3. ^ Image of Kasmin 1982
  4. ^ Image of photocollage My Mother, Bolton Abbey, 1982
  5. ^ Hockney on Photography: Conversations with Paul Joyce (1988) ISBN 0224024841
  6. ^ Hockney on Art - Paul Joyce ISBN 140870157X
  7. ^ Amazon.com: The Blue Guitar: Etchings By David Hockney Who Was Inspired By Wallace Stevens Who Was Inspired By Pablo Picasso
  8. ^ Hockney painting sells for £2.6m
  9. ^ Meredith Etherington-Smith (15 August 2006). "A David Hockney Moment". ARTINFO. http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/19262/a-david-hockney-moment/. Retrieved 2008-04-17. 
  10. ^ Bigger Trees near Warter as seen in the Royal Academy, June 2007
  11. ^ Charlotte Higgins, Hockney's big gift to the Tate: a 40ft landscape of Yorkshire's winter trees, The Guardian, 8 April 2008 [1]
  12. ^ Simon Crerar "David Hockney donates Bigger Trees Near Warter to Tate", The Times, 7 April 2008.
  13. ^ Lawrence Weschler, "David Hockney's iPhone Passion, The New York Review of Books, 22 October 2009
  14. ^ Kirk Richards (2003). "New Book on Old Masters Methods is a Leap of Logic Without Substance". Art Renewal Center. http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/2003/David_Hockney/hockney1.asp. 
  15. ^ ARC staff (2003). "Hockney's Secret Knowledge: Refuted". Art Renewal Center. http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/2003/Hockney_Refuted/hockney1.asp. 
  16. ^ Brian Yoder (2003). "Why David Hockney Should Not Be Taken Seriously". Art Renewal Center. http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/2004/Hockney/yoder1.asp. 
  17. ^ Standpoint staff (2009). "Standpoint Advisory Board". Social Affairs Unit Magazines. http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/about-us. 
  18. ^ Standpoint staff (2008). "David Hockney - Exclusive sketches for his new Tate masterpiece". Social Affairs Unit Magazines Ltd. http://standpointmag.co.uk/magazine/26. 
  19. ^ BBC press office (2009). "Radio 4's Today announces this year's guest editors". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2009/12_december/10/today.shtml. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

When conventions are old, there's quite a good reason, it's not arbitrary.

David Hockney (born 9 July 1937) is an English artist. An important contributor to the British Pop Art of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century.

Sourced

  • When conventions are old, there's quite a good reason, it's not arbitrary. So Picasso discovered that, as it were, and I'm sure that for him that was probably almost as exciting as discovering Cubism, rediscovering conventions of ordinary appearance, one-point perspective or something. The purists think you're going backwards, but I know you'd go forward. Future art that is based on appearances won't look like the art that's gone before. Even revivals of a period are not the same. The Renaissance is not the same as ancient Greece; the Gothic revival is not the same as Gothic. It might look like that at first, but you can tell it's not. The way we see things is constantly changing. At the moment the way we see things has been left a lot to the camera. That shouldn't necessarily be.
    • From a series of interviews with Marco Livingstone (April 22 - May 7, 1980 and July 6 - 7, 1980) quoted in Livingstone's David Hockney (1981) ISBN 0-500-20291-5 , p. 112
  • Before he did all those lovely line drawings, Matisse would make really detailed charcoal drawings and tear them up. He wouldn't leave them about, he thought of them as working drawings. I understand what he was doing: discovering what's there. And then when you come to use line, if you know what you're looking at, it's much easier to make the line meaningful, to find a linear solution to what you want to depict.
    • From a series of interviews with Marco Livingstone (April 22 - May 7, 1980 and July 6 - 7, 1980) quoted in Livingstone's David Hockney (1981), p. 185
  • What I always longed to do was to be able to paint like I can draw, most artists would tell you that, they would all like to paint like they can draw.
    • From a series of interviews with Marco Livingstone (April 22 - May 7, 1980 and July 6 - 7, 1980) quoted in Livingstone's David Hockney (1981), p. 207
  • I've started painting much more freely, and faster. I think it's working in the theatre that did it. You know what the Glyndebourne scene-painters said about my The Magic Flute? They said they had to wear sunglasses to paint it.
    • "Portrait of the Artist as a Naughty Boy," interview with John Mortimer, In Character (1983) ISBN 0-14-006389-7 p.97
  • In one gallery they actually had a notice which said "No Sketching." How obnoxious! I said, "How do you think these things got on the walls if there was no sketching?"
    • "Portrait of the Artist as a Naughty Boy," interview with John Mortimer, In Character (1983), p.97
  • Television is becoming a collage — there are so many channels that you move through them making a collage yourself. In that sense, everyone sees something a bit different.
    • Interview with Paul Joyce, New York, November 1985, quoted in Hockney on Photography, ed. Wendy Brown (1988)
If we are to change our world view, images have to change. The artist now has a very important job to do. He's not a little peripheral figure entertaining rich people, he's really needed...
  • If we are to change our world view, images have to change. The artist now has a very important job to do. He's not a little peripheral figure entertaining rich people, he's really needed.
    • Interview with Paul Joyce, New York, (September 1986) quoted in Hockney on Photography, ed. Wendy Brown (1988)
  • We live in an age where the artist is forgotten. He is a researcher. I see myself that way.
    • The Observer (London) (9 June 1991)
  • I usually only draw myself in down periods. I do, actually. I suppose that's why I often draw myself looking grim. I just think, "Let's have a look in the mirror." When you are alone and you look in a mirror you never put on a pleasing smile. Well, you don't, do you?
He was a member of CND and a socialist with a rather romantic and naive idea of what Soviet Russia was like, all cornfields and ballet...
  • He [Hockney's father] hardly ever left Bradford. He was a member of CND and a socialist with a rather romantic and naive idea of what Soviet Russia was like, all cornfields and ballet. He would have gone mad for email because he was always sending letters to world leaders — Eisenhower, Mao, Stalin — telling them what was what. I think he imagined the Politburo would hold up his letter and say, "Hold everything, Kenneth Hockney has written again!"
    • Interview with Nigel Farndale, "The talented Mr. Hockney," The Telegraph, (15 November 2001)
  • It sometimes takes a foreigner to come and see a place and paint it. I remember someone saying they had never really noticed the palm trees here until I painted them.
    • Interview with Nigel Farndale, "The talented Mr. Hockney," The Telegraph, (15 November 2001)
  • Interviewer: Love is certainly at the center of tolerance. They're intertwined, in a certain way. It helps you appreciate difference.
    Hockney: Yes. And that's probably why I do portraits. Everybody's different; they look different, and are different. Maybe deep, deep down we're all the same. But on the surface we seem to be different, don't we?
  • With chemical film, it was possible to alter photographs, but you had to be an expert. That's not true any more. The LA Times fired a photographer at the beginning of the Iraq War for editing two shots together. Photography is crumbling. Certainly it is for the newspapers a bit now, isn't it? There will be painting again, absolutely!
I can get excitement watching rain on a puddle... I want life thrilling and rich. And it is. I make sure it is.
  • I'm aware it's now a hostile city [New York City]. I feel I'm in school, actually. There are signs everywhere you don't get in any other city. When you see all the smokers outside a building in New York, I just think the building is full of bad-mannered people who haven't thought, "We'll give them a little room to smoke in." That's what a reasonable person, a person with good manners, would do.
    • Interview with Marion Finlay, "Hockney on ... politics, pleasure, and smoking in public places," FOREST Online (28 July 2004)
  • There's no doubt you smoke to calm yourself. I know I do. That's my decision about how I keep calm. I prefer that to Prozac. In fact I think it's healthier. I couldn't go to another New York party where they're all drinking water and on Prozac and telling you off for smoking.
    • Interview with Marion Finlay, "Hockney on ... politics, pleasure, and smoking in public places," FOREST Online (28 July 2004)
  • Teaching people to draw is teaching people to look.
    • Interview with Jasper Gerard, "Taking the fight to the dreary people," The Sunday Times (London) (2 October 2005)
  • The choice is not between drugs and no drugs, but between illegal drugs and legal drugs. Until the 1920s drugs were legal, why not now? Lots of people are on drugs anyway — it is called medication.
    • Interview with Jasper Gerard, "Taking the fight to the dreary people," The Sunday Times (London) (2 October 2005)
  • How difficult it is to learn not to see like cameras, which has had such an effect on us. The camera sees everything at once. We don't. There's a hierarchy. Why do I pick out that thing, that thing, that thing?
    • Interview with Mark Feeney, "David Hockney keeps seeking new avenues of exploration," Boston Globe (26 February 2006)
  • Any artist will tell you he's really only interested in the stuff he's doing now. He will, always. It's true, and it should be like that.
    • Interview with Mark Feeney, "David Hockney keeps seeking new avenues of exploration," Boston Globe (26 February 2006)

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