David Hockney

Getting to Know:

David Hockney

9 July, 1937 -

Read More

Interested in Selling?

Request a valuation

David Hockney is one of the most celebrated artists of the past century. A pioneer of Pop Art and a master of several mediums - including sculpture, video, painting, drawing, collage, and photography - Hockney is well-known globally and it would be rare to see an account of 20th Century art history in which he was absent.

Born in Bradford, UK, Hockney studied at the Bradford College of Art (alongside Derek Boshier, Pauline Boty, and Norman Stevens) and London’s Royal College of Art. At the RCA, Hockney’s work was showcased in the Young Contemporaries exhibition (which now runs annually as the New Contemporaries show) alongside Peter Blake, marking the dawn of British Pop Art. The artist has taught in several institutions in the UK and USA. 

In the early 1960s, Hockney moved to Los Angeles where he made some of his most recognisable work - a series of paintings of swimming pools, including what some believe to be his magnum opus, A Bigger Splash (1967). The painting’s title was also used for a 1973 biographical documentary on the artist’s life. 

For a period of 6 months (between November 2018 and May 2019), Hockney held the record for the most expensive work of art sold at auction by a living auction, for his work Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) which sold for £70 million via Christie’s.

Now, David Hockney might be as much associated with the iPad as he is with swimming pools, vibrant colour palettes, and sprawling landscapes.

Hockney had always been an early adopter of new technologies. In 1985 the artist began using the Quantel Paintpox computer programme to create digital drawings, and in the early 00’s he began using Photoshop and a Wacompad. The artist is a passionate photographer and his photocollages demonstrate a technologically-forward attitude to composition. Hockney used the software Agisoft PhotoScan in the late 2010s to arrange his later photocollages. 

Since 2008, Hockney has used the Brushes application on his iPhone (and then iPad when it was released in 2010) to create digital artworks. Hockney would draw flowers on his iPhone, and email the pictures to friends and family. The artist has used his iPad for various large-scale projects, including creating a stained glass window design for Westminster Abbey and bodies of work for several exhibitions. In 2012 and ‘13, an exhibition of the artist’s landscape work including more than 50 iPad drawings, A Bigger Picture, was held at London’s Royal Academy, Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum, and Cologne’s Ludwig Museum. For his Fresh Flowers exhibition, Hockney displayed over 200 of his works created on iPads and iPhones on the devices themselves - hung on the gallery walls as opposed to having the artworks printed out.

Hockney’s digital works have been met with mixed responses from critics, but the artist is a strong believer in the advances the technology offers. The artist has said of his newest mediums “People from the village come up and tease me: ‘We hear you’ve started drawing on your telephone’ … and I tell them, ‘Well, no, actually, it’s just that occasionally I speak on my sketch pad.’” Benefits of using his iPad to draw - according to the artist - include that it is backlit meaning that he can draw in the dark, and that using a stylus can give a resistance similar to that of pencil on paper. Following an update to his beloved Brushes software, the artist worked with a UK mathematician to recreate the application pre-alterations. IPad drawings became the artist’s most prolific output during the 2020 lockdowns, and Hockney focused on creating one artwork per day in his large garden in France. These artworks (over 100 of them) were featured in the artist’s 2021 show at the Royal Academy David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy, 2020.

Recent Highlights From David Hockney

Newsletter Signup

Keyword Alerts