David Hockney after winning the John Moores Painting Prize in 1967. Image: Mirrorpix.com
Born in Bradford in 1937, David Hockney studied painting at the Royal College of Art in London from 1959 to 1962. His stellar reputation was established while he was still a student; his work was featured in several of the annual Young Contemporaries exhibitions, one of which heralded the birth of British Pop Art. He progressed quickly along this path to become one of the world’s best known British artists.
He first came to America (New York) in 1961 but settled in Los Angeles soon after a visit in 1964. He is closely associated with southern California and has produced a large body of work there over many decades.
Through the John Moores Painting Prize, the Walker Art Gallery was able to acquire one of Hockney’s most famous pictures,'Peter getting out of Nick’s pool', when the artist won the prize in 1967 at the age of 30.
His experiences and the work he produced during the 1960s and ‘70s were instrumental in his success.
This exhibition highlights several themes within Hockney’s work: a growing confidence in expressing his homosexuality and in finding his own style, his skill as a draughtsman and printmaker, particularly seen in his responses to Constantine P Cavafy's poems; his obsession with capturing the properties of water; and lastly, portraiture, which has continued to play a central role in his output.
In recent years the artist has relocated to Bridlington, Yorkshire where his work has focused on documenting the rural landscape. The artist was elected a Royal Academician in 1991 and recently appointed a member of the Order of Merit by the Queen.
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