David Hockney was born in 1937 to a family of modest means in Bradford, Yorkshire (United Kingdom). He studied at Bradford College of Art then at the Royal College of Art in London where he graduated in 1962.
He attracted attention early on in London, where his personality and his attitudes stood out on the artistic scene, then left for New York in 1963. But it was California that captivated and fascinated him, and he made his first visit there in 1964. Symbol of the American dream, this State would become a major source of inspiration: he discovered another life there, with the beautiful villas and their pools as well as the burgeoning gay community, which he openly joined. In 1973, Jack Hazan made a semi-fictional documentary about him, A Bigger Splash, which cemented his international reputation. The titre echoes the painting of the same name from 1967, one of the Pools series. In 1978, he bought a house in the hills, overlooking Mulholland Drive. “As soon as I lived up there, I saw Los Angeles differently,” he recalls in his autobiography, That’s the way I see it. “I moved away from straight lines. All the roads are winding up there.”
David Hockney draws his inspiration from his close environment: his family, his friends, the landscapes that surround him, the artists he admires. He rejects abstract and conceptual art and does not wish to be categorised in any “school”. He takes advantage of new tools to explore other artistic avenues, notably photography and photographic collage (the Joiners) which allow him to play with perspective and create a multifocal vision, revisiting some of the ideas of cubism. He has always been very interested in new technology: from the fax and the photocopy to the iPhone, iPad, computers and video.
The works of David Hockney have been widely exhibited. In 2017, for his 80th birthday, a travelling retrospective started at Tate Britain, London then moved in a modified version to the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. His work is exhibited around the world: Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia), Louisiana Museum of Art (Humlebæk, Denmark), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (United States), Ludwig Museum (Cologne, Germany), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, United States), Musée national d'Art Moderne (Paris, France), Museo Tamayo (Mexico City, Mexico), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, United States), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, United States), The Museum of Modern Art (New York, United States), National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C., United States, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (Australia), National Portrait Gallery (London, UK), Royal Academy of Arts (London, UK), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (United States), Santa Barbara Museum of Art (United States), Tate Galleries (London, UK), The British Museum (London, UK), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, United States).