Dancers VIII, 2014
Anna Randal for Art-Sheep
According to a poll of 1,000 British painters and sculptors, David Hockney is the most influential British artist of all time. Born on July 9, 1937 in Bradford, England, Hockney is an important contributor to the 1960s Pop art movement and a founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1979.
To celebrate his 78th birthday, Art-Sheep has gathered 5 interesting facts about one of the greatest painters of contemporary art. Enjoy!
Sun On The Pool, 1982
1. David Hockney was a conscientious objector
Hockney claimed his right to refuse to perform military service and in order to fulfill his national service requirement he worked in hospitals for two years, starting in 1957.
2. He drew a now famous satirical sketch when the RCA refused to award him his diploma
When Hockney finished his studies at the Royal College of Art in London, he refused to write an essay, as he wanted to be judged only on the basis of his artwork. Instead of an essay he created a satirical sketch titled The Diploma, something that caused the RCA to change its regulations and award Hockney the diploma.
The Diploma, 1962
3. He sold his first painting for £10
Even though it would be almost impossible for someone not extremely rich, to buy a Hockney now, his first painting Portrait of My Father (1955) was sold to a buyer at a regional art fair in Leeds, for £10. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, the artist even confirmed the transaction with his father, who told him that he could always “do another.”
Portrait of My Father, 1955
4. He is openly gay
It’s well known that David Hockney is openly gay, something he never tried to keep secret. Many of his works explore homosexuality, while his 1961 painting We Two Boys Together Clinging, shares its title with a poem written by Walt Whitman and refers to his love for men.
We Two Boys Together Clinging, 1961
5. He may have synesthesia
Synesthesia is the cognitive ability to perceive sounds, colors, and/or words through two or more senses simultaneously. A condition that supposedly led Wassily Kandinsky to paint his vibrant, symphonic abstractions, and Hockney may also have been born with it.
Andy Warhol, Henry Geldzahler, David Hockney, and David Goodman, 1963 – Photo by Walter Logeman
Man in Shower in Beverly Hills, 1964
Peter Getting Out of Nick’s Pool, 1966
A Bigger Splash, 1967
David Hockney by Andy Warhol, 1974
My Parents, 1977
David Hockney and John Abbott, ca 1976-1979
David Hockney and Andy Warhol, 1981
The Crossword Puzzle, 1983
Mr. Chow restaurant in New York, 1986
Left to right: Michael Heizer, David Hockney, Leroy Neiman, Dennis Oppenheim, Stefano, William Wegman, John Lurie, Unidentified, John Chamberlain, Andy Warhol, Arman, Alex Katz, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Tony Shafrazi, Red Grooms, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ronnie Cutron, Unidentified, Sandro Chia, Chris Goode, Darius Azari, Bernard Zette, Shawn Hausman, Eric Goode
Three Trees near Thixendale, Winter 2007