David Hockney, between Pop Art and Hyperrealism

David Hockney, a renowned contemporary British artist, is famous for his distinctive style, characterized by vibrant colors and innovative compositions. He has contributed to redefining artistic norms and has established himself as one of the key figures of the Pop Art movement. Known for his artistic diversity, David Hockney explores various mediums such as painting, photography, and digital art.


Born on July 9, 1937, in Bradford, England, David Hockney is one of the most influential and versatile artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. His artistic career spans several decades, leaving an indelible mark on contemporary art. After graduating from the Bradford School of Art, Hockney joined the Royal College of Art in London in the early 1960s. His style developed within the Pop Art movement, influenced by artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. His artistic vision quickly evolved towards more personal explorations, particularly experimenting with hyperrealism and representations of everyday life. California, where he moved in the 1960s, profoundly influenced his work. The vast landscapes, pools, and dazzling light are recurring themes in his paintings, often characterized by vibrant colors and bold aesthetics. Beyond painting, Hockney embraces photography, engraving, drawing, and even digital technologies. His "iPad Drawings" mark a new era in his artistic expression, demonstrating his ability to adopt modern technologies while maintaining his style. His career is marked by significant achievements, with iconic portraits and landscapes that redefine the perception of contemporary art. Recognized for his exuberant personality, Hockney became a legendary artistic figure whose influence extends far beyond the art world. His legacy endures through his continuous commitment to experimentation, endless exploration of visual forms, and lasting impact on the global art scene. David Hockney remains a cultural icon whose influence transcends borders and time.

His Attachment to France

Inspired by the lively streets, cafes, and picturesque gardens of Paris, David Hockney has been deeply influenced by the French capital. His numerous visits to Paris often served as opportunities to explore new artistic techniques and capture the city's nuances of light. Many exhibitions in Paris have been dedicated to him; in 2017, the Centre Pompidou, in collaboration with Tate Britain and the Metropolitan Museum, presented the most comprehensive retrospective of Hockney.

Aix-en-Provence also played a significant role in Hockney's life. He spent several summers in southern France, captivated by the Mediterranean landscapes, vibrant colors, and relaxed lifestyle. These stays inspired many of Hockney's works, including his paintings of pools and sunlit landscapes. In 2023, the Granet Museum, a major institution in Aix-en-Provence, presented a large retrospective of David Hockney in partnership with the Tate Gallery.

Finally, Normandy, where David Hockney has lived since 2019, has been his greatest source of inspiration. He was drawn to the beauty of the countryside, its green fields, and brightly colored flowers. His numerous stays in Normandy have resulted in a series of paintings and drawings. In 2024, as part of the « Normandie Impressionniste » Festival, the Rouen Museum of Fine Arts presents an exhibition, David Hockney Normandism, entirely dedicated to the artist.

Exploration of Color and Light

David Hockney is renowned for his remarkable ability and fascination with exploring light and color through his works. The vast landscapes of California are a major source of inspiration for Hockney, offering a perfect canvas for his exploration of natural light. He captures the brilliance and reflections of the sun on pool water. His mastery of color, combined with his ability to depict light with photographic precision, creates works that seem to vibrate with life. His continuous exploration of light and color has resulted in iconic works and has made him one of the undisputed masters of visual expression of light and color in contemporary art.

Art and Technology

David Hockney was one of the first major artists to embrace technology in his artistic practice, pushing the boundaries of traditional art by exploring new forms of expression through digital tools. This interest manifested significantly with his "iPad Drawings," artistic creations made on electronic tablets. These works are a remarkable example of his adaptation to modern technology to express his artistic vision, using the digital palette to create works rich in brightness and tones. Hockney has also explored other technological tools such as photography and video. His fascination with how technology can be used to capture visual reality and create expressive images leads him to explore these different mediums. Hockney has demonstrated that technology can be organically integrated into the artistic process, offering new creative possibilities without compromising artistic integrity.

Iconic works

A Bigger Splash, 1967

A Bigger Splash is one of the artist's most iconic and famous works, dating from 1967. Created with acrylic on canvas, it immortalizes a pool with a splash in the water. This work stands out for its bold composition and masterful use of colors. In this painting, David Hockney uses bright and contrasting shades to depict the pool and its surroundings, creating a vibrant and lively atmosphere. The way Hockney captures movement and energy in A Bigger Splash is remarkable. Although the diver is not directly represented, his presence is evoked by the dynamic splash, creating captivating visual tension. This work emblematically illustrates Hockney's distinctive style, highlighting his interest in representing water, manipulating light, and how geometric shapes unite to form visually striking compositions.

A Bigger Splash, 1967, David Hockney

Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy, 1970-1971

Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy is an emblematic work created between 1970 and 1971. David Hockney here creates a symbolic portrait of his close friends, designer Ossie Clark and textile artist Celia Birtwell, sitting on a sofa in their London apartment. The cat, named Percy, adds an additional dimension to the work. Hockney captures the essence of the London art scene of the 1970s through this portrait. Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell were influential figures in the world of fashion and arts, and their bohemian lifestyle is beautifully captured by Hockney. The composition of the work is carefully orchestrated, with the two characters sitting casually, surrounded by elements of their intimate environment. The way Hockney uses light and color in this work gives a sense of warmth and comfort, reinforcing the feeling of closeness with the subjects. In this piece, the cat Percy is an integral element of the composition, contributing to the visual narrative of the couple's daily life, making it not just a portrait but also a testament to Hockney's friendship with his friends.

Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy, 1971, David Hockney

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with two Figures), 1972

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) is one of David Hockney's most emblematic works, created in 1972. This painting depicts a man wearing a pink jacket looking at another figure swimming in a pool. The scene is set beside a sparkling blue pool, surrounded by a verdant landscape. This work is remarkable for its visual complexity and emotional depth. Hockney captured a scene that is both simple and intriguing, allowing for the viewer's interpretation. The characters, although placed in the same space, seem to exist in different worlds, creating a captivating narrative tension. The juxtaposition of the apparent calm of the character at the top of the canvas with the dynamic activity of the person in the water creates a striking contrast. The meticulous details, vivid colors, and reflections of light on the water add a dimension of realism and depth to this composition.

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with two Figures), 1972, David Hockney

David Hockney in the Art Market

David Hockney occupies a unique place in the contemporary art market, where his influence and demand have reached unprecedented heights. His fame, solidified by impressive sales, testifies to his iconic status and the exceptional value of his work. His financial impact is remarkable, with an annual turnover reaching 75 million euros, thus highlighting the substantial commercial value of his creations.

On November 15, 2018, at Christie's in New York, his work entitled Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) was sold for over 90 million dollars. This sale at Christie's not only set a new record for the highest price ever achieved for a work by a living artist but also confirmed Hockney's position among the most coveted and valuable artists in the global art market. The spectacular value of this work highlighted the enduring appeal of Hockney's work.

Investing in a Hockney Artwork with Matis

Thanks to the co-investment solution offered by Matis, it is now possible to acquire an artwork by renowned artists such as Hockney from an investment perspective. This is an alternative method that opens up new horizons compared to more traditional practices. Indeed, Matis offers you the opportunity to invest in major names in contemporary art, such as Basquiat, Warhol, or Picasso, through club deals, a form of crowdfunding that allows funds to be raised from multiple investors. For each club deal created, an investment vehicle is structured in which investors can acquire convertible bonds. The artwork is then entrusted to major galleries for resale, and once this is done, investors recoup the funds placed as well as any profit made (not guaranteed).

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