David Hockney RA

David Hockney studied at Bradford School of Art from 1953 to 1957 and the Royal College of Art from 1959 until 1962. He was awarded the Royal College of Art gold medal in 1962 in recognition of his mastery as a draughtsman and his innovative paintings. His early work was stylistically diverse, combining graffiti-like images with quotations from the poetry of Walt Whitman.

Hockney moved to Los Angeles in 1963. He produced highly evocative, sometimes homoerotic, iconic images of urban life. By the late 1960s his work had become more naturalistic but it was always characterised by Hockney’s alertness to the psychological and emotional resonance of his subject matter.

Hockney’s work also includes landscapes, photography, printmaking and stage designs for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera and the Los Angeles Music Centre Opera.

Recent solo exhibitions have included the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2012), and Galerie Lelong, Paris (2013). The Royal Academy’s blockbuster David Hockney: A Bigger Picture opened in 2012, featuring large-scale works inspired by the East Yorkshire landscape.

After 2012, Hockney turned away from painting and from his Yorkshire home, returning to Los Angeles. Slowly he began to return to the quiet contemplation of portraiture. Over the months that followed, he became absorbed by the genre, creating a series of artworks that became the 2016 exhibition David Hockney: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life


Royal Academician


Elected ARA: 20 May 1985

Elected RA: 26 June 1991

Born: 9 July 1937