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5 Interesting Facts About David Hockney

David Hockney A Bigger Taschen Book Imitate Modern Gallery London

A Bigger Book, TASCHEN’s SUMO-sized David Hockney monograph, is as spectacular in format as it is in scope. It is a compilation of the artist’s stock of more than 60 years of work; from his teenage days at the Bradford School of Art, through his breakthrough in 1960s Swinging London, life by Los Angeles pools in the 1970s, up to his recent extensive series of portraits, iPad drawings, and Yorkshire landscapes.

Hockney himself is present in every aspect of the publication. He collaborated closely through all production stages and conceived of this book as a purely visual survey of more than 450 works prefaced by a handwritten programmatic statement. As an artist who rarely looks back, the vast volume is as much his own personal review as it is a definitive record for art lovers all over the world.

“I don’t tend to live in the past,” he comments, “Working on this book, I see quite how much I have done.”

The book’s sumptuous portfolio is supplemented by an illustrated chronology of more than 600 pages, contextualising Hockney’s art with drawings, graphic work, portrait photos, and text based on the artist’s own writings as well as contemporary reviews. A Bigger Book is presented on a Marc Newson bookstand.

Limited Collector’s Edition of 9,000 signed copies, each with a Marc Newson bookstand. You can get it in our online store.

5 interesting facts about David Hockney:

1. He sold his first painting for £10. 

With Hockney’s work being worth millions today, it is a little anecdotal to hear that he sold his first painting only for a tenner! Portrait of My Father, 1955, was sold to an unexpected buyer at a regional art fair in Leeds for £10, with originally no price tag at all. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, before the sale was complete, the artist wanted to clear the transaction with his father first. His dad encouraged him to take the offer, as he could always “do another.”

2. He was voted Britain’s most influential artist of all time. 

David Hockney has a trail of greatness behind him. In 2009, his painting Beverly Hills Housewife was sold for around $8 million, still a record for his work. He was awarded the Infinity Award in 1985 for his photography, and the prestigious The Royal Photographic Society’s Progress medal in 1988. In 1990, Hockney was offered a knighthood, but he declined. In January 2012 he accepted the Order of Merit. In 2011, in a poll of more than 1,000 British artists, Hockney was voted the most influential British artist of all time, and rightly so!

3. He loves his iPad. 

Instead of resisting technological progress, Hockney was happy to embrace all the new possibilities that digital canvas have to offer. Today he is rarely without his fashionable (bespoke wooden framed) iPad, on which he sketches at any time of the day. Using the drawing applications has allowed him to follow his own creative process, re-wind the making of an image, and learn something about his own style. “It’s like an endless piece of paper that perfectly fitted the feeling I had that painting should be big. I see now that a lot of the argument in the late 60s was not that painting was dead, but that easel painting was dead. Easel painting means small painting. The moment I got a very big studio, everything took off.”

4. Some of his notable pieces are inspired by the Brothers Grimm. 

Hockney’s work is inspired by a range of subjects, from landscapes to close friends to architecture; and tales by Grimm Brothers were surprisingly one of the big influences for his earlier work. In 1969 Hockney had a solo show at the Kasmin that featured etchings made up of six of the Grimm’s tales.

5. Royal School of Art changed its regulations to award him a diploma.

David Hockney studied at the Royal College of Art in London. In his final year (1959), he was required to submit an essay to clear the final examination, but he notoriously refused to do so, wanting to be judged only on the basis of his artwork. He created a satirical sketch The Diploma (below), making 50 copies of it. Today some of these copies are held the Tate and the V&A. Recognising his talent and growing reputation; the RCA changed its regulations and awarded Hockney the diploma.


Comments (3)
  1. laura sharman says:

    This is so helpful.

  2. Nia Montrose says:

    I believe that although David Hockney’s art is inspiring, Vincent Van – Gogh is better

  3. Wendy Brash says:

    this is a amazing website for looking for a few facts for your kids and very easy for them to understand

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