#RespectYourElders: David Hockney, one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century, continues creating and showcasing new works today.
Hockney (born 1937) was initially associated with the British Pop art movement in the late 1950s, before moving to Los Angeles in 1964. (He later moved between London, L.A. and Paris.) In L.A., Hockney found himself inspired by swimming pools, and in 1967, created one of his most notable pieces to date, “A Bigger Splash.”
In the following decades, Hockney experimented with a variety of media, from printmaking to photography. But he always returned to the art form he is most known for — painting portraits. Some of his most notable portraits include “Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy” and “American Collectors (Fred and Marcia Weisman).”
Hockney has received numerous awards over the years for his work, including the First Annual Award of Achievement from the Archives of American Art, Los Angeles and the Lorenzo de’ Medici Lifetime Career Award of the Florence Biennale. He was also declared Britain’s most influential artist of all time by a The Other Art Fair survey. In 2012, Queen Elizabeth II appointed him to the Order of Merit, which honors only 24 members at a time for their contributions to the arts and sciences. He was also one of the founders of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1974, and was inducted into Vanity Fair’s International Best-Dressed Hall of Fame in 1986.
Hockney has also been recognized for being an openly gay artist, especially because he created many of his works during a time when homosexuality was a crime in the United Kingdom. He’s received critical acclaim for putting his sexuality front and center in his portraits, and many of his portraits feature his romantic partners.
While he created many of his most notable works in the 20th century, Hockney developed some of his most famous pieces in recent years. To date, his largest piece is a painting called “Bigger Trees Near Water,” from 2007. His most recent portrait series, “82 Portraits and 1 Still-life,” which he developed in 2013, traveled to Ca’ Pesaro in Venice, Italy and in Spain, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 2017. It’s currently an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art through July 29, 2018.
In a recent NPR article, subjects of Hockney’s “82 Portraits and 1 Still-Life” series discussed what it was like posing for him. One of the biggest takeaways, they said, is that Hockney approaches his portraits with “a democracy.”
“You can have an eminent museum director or an architect, or an actor next to the fellow who comes to wash his cars, or some of the women who help run his household,” one subject said. No matter who they were, they all sat in the same yellow armchair with the same blue or green floor.
See for yourself what it’s like to pose for David Hockney here.