The Tate Collection includes six paintings and a number of prints by David Hockney. Using the Collection as a base, and with the help of loans from other collections, this display aims to give a sense of the variety in Hockney’s work over 30 years, and to highlight the changing role of different sources of inspiration.
David Hockney was born in Bradford in 1937. After studying at Bradford School of Art he went to the Royal College in London, and became a star while still a student, winning prizes and press attention. Despite living abroad for much of the last 30 years, Hockney has maintained his popularity with audiences in Britain. Within the art world however, his reputation has been more closely connected to the changing fortunes of figurative art over that period.
Hockney knew that much of his popularity was due to the fact that he was painting the figure even when avant-garde art was at the height of fashion. He wants to paint pictures for a wide audience, and acknowledges the importance of a skill which other people can recognise. Hockney has always set store by his own ability to draw. On the other hand, by the early 1970s Hockney felt he had become almost obsessed with making things look real, and has since found various ways of loosening up his style.