David Hockney was born in 1937 in Bradford, England.
English painter, printmaker, photographer and stage designer. Perhaps the most popular and versatile British artist of the 20th century, Hockney made apparent his facility as a draughtsman while studying at Bradford School of Art between 1953 and 1957.
David Hockney soon sought ways of reintegrating a personal subject-matter into his art. He began tentatively by copying fragments of poems on to his paintings, encouraging a close scrutiny of the surface and creating a specific identity for the painted marks through the alliance of word and image. These cryptic messages soon gave way to open declarations in a series of paintings produced in 1960–61 on the theme of homosexual love.
Hockney's subsequent development was a continuation of his student work, although a significant change in his approach occurred after his move to California at the end of 1963. It is clear that when he moved to that city it was, at least in part, in search of the fantasy that he had formed of a sensual and uninhibited life of athletic young men, swimming pools, palm trees and perpetual sunshine.
On his arrival in California, Hockney changed from oil to acrylic paints, applying them as a smooth surface of flat and brilliant colour that helped to emphasise the pre-eminence of the image. By the end of the decade Hockney's anxieties about appearing modern had abated to the extent that he was able to pare away the devices and to allow his naturalistic rendering of the world to speak for itself.
Many of Hockney's works are housed in Salts Mill, in Saltaire, near his home town of Bradford. Writer Christopher Isherwood's collection is considered the most important private collection of his work. In the 1990s, Isherwood's long-time partner Don Bachardy donated the collection to a foundation. His work is in numerous public and private collections worldwide, including:
Honolulu Museum of Art
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark
Art Institute of Chicago
National Portrait Gallery, London
Kennedy Museum of Art, Athens, Ohio
Tate Gallery, London
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
Philadelphia Museum of Art
De Young Museum, San Francisco
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
In 1967, Hockney's painting, Peter Getting Out Of Nick's Pool, won the John Moores Painting Prize at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. Hockney was offered a knighthood in 1990 but declined, before accepting an Order of Merit in January 2012. He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Progress medal in 1988 and the Special 150th Anniversary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography in 2003. He was made a Companion of Honour in 1997 and is a Royal Academician. In 2012, Queen Elizabeth II appointed him to the Order of Merit, an honor restricted to 24 members at any one time for their contributions to the arts and sciences.
He was a Distinguished Honoree of the National Arts Association, Los Angeles, in 1991 and received the First Annual Award of Achievement from the Archives of American Art, Los Angeles, in 1993. He was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the American Associates of the Royal Academy Trust, New York in 1992 and was given a Foreign Honorary Membership to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1997. In 2003, Hockney was awarded the Lorenzo de' Medici Lifetime Career Award of the Florence Biennale, Italy.
Commissioned by The Other Art Fair, a November 2011 poll of 1,000 British painters and sculptors declared him Britain's most influential artist of all time