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S21 Ep4: David Hockney: The Colors of Music

Career Timeline


From painting to photos to collage, lithographs and set design, it seems artist David Hockney has done it all. The AMERICAN MASTERS documentary David Hockney: The Colors of Music explores the painter’s set designs while the timeline below provides personal and career highlights.

Born July 9 in Bradford, England.

Studies at Bradford School of Art.

Studies at Royal College of Art, London. Sees works of American abstract expressionists, including Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.

Sees major Picasso exhibition at Tate Gallery, London. Reads complete works of Walt Whitman.

David Hockney
A scene from AMERICAN MASTERS David Hockney: The Colors of Music

Executes Doll Boy and other love paintings.

First visit to the United States.

Makes series of etchings, A Rake’s Progress.

Executes first shower paintings. First solo exhibition held at John Kasmin, London. Travels to Egypt. First visit to Los Angeles.

Moves to Los Angeles. Makes first swimming pool paintings. Begins making instant (Polaroid) photographs. Begins working with acrylic paints. Teaches at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Teaches at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Designs sets and costumes for Alfred Jarry’s production of Ubu Roi at the Royal Court Theater, London.

Teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Teaches at University of California, Berkeley.

Creates first large double portraits. Moves to London.

Makes series of etchings of six fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm.

Traveling retrospective at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. Creates first photographic “joiners.”

Travels to Japan. Film David Hockney’s Diaries made by Michael and Christian Blackwood.

Lives in Paris.

Solo exhibition at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. Designs sets for the ballet Septentrion.

Designs Glyndebourne Festival Opera production sets and costumes for The Rake’s Progress.

Returns to Los Angeles. Begins working extensively with photography; makes large scale lithographs.

Reads The Man with the Blue Guitar, by Wallace Stevens and makes a suite of 20 etchings to illustrate this theme.

Designs Glyndebourne Festival Opera production sets and costumes for The Magic Flute.

Makes Los Angeles his permanent residence. Creates lithographs and series Paper Pools, made with handmade paper pulp at Tyler Graphics in Bedford Village, New York.

Designs Metropolitan Opera “triple bill,” sets and costumes for Parade, Les Mamelles de Tiresias, l’Enfant et les Sortileges.

Travels to China with Sir Stephen Spender and Gregory Evans. Designs Metropolitan Opera sets and costumes for Le Sacre du Printemps, Le Rossignol, Oedipus Rex, and Paid on Both Sides.

Makes first composite Polaroids and photographic collages.

Begins to study Chinese scrolls and reads George Rowley’s Principals of Chinese Painting designs sets for the ballet, Varii Capricci.

Makes “Moving Focus” multi-colored lithographs at Tyler Graphics in Bedford Village, New York.

Designs cover and 40 pages for the December 1985 issue of French Vogue magazine.

First home-made prints created on photocopiers. Designs and publishes a catalogue of home made prints to accompany his gallery exhibitions. Completes Pearblossom Hwy., 11-14th April 1986 photocollage, which is the culmination of his experiments with photography.

Designs the Los Angeles Music Center Opera’s production of Tristan und Isolde. Designs catalogue to accompany drawing exhibition at Loyola Marymount University, L.A.

Writes, directs and is featured in the film A Day on the Grand Canal with the Emperor of China (or Surface is Illusion But So is Depth), produced by Philip Haas.

Creates 24 original pages for his book, David Hockney: A Retrospective. Creates original prints for local, national, and international publications in connection with his major retrospective.

Returns to painting, concentrating on seascapes, potted flowers, and portraits of his family and friends.

Makes drawings and transmits them through his laser fax machines. Makes multi-page fax pictures (up to 144 pages) utilizing his black and white laser office copy machine.

Works at Tyler Graphics Ltd. on six new prints. Makes color laser printed photographs from his vacation snaps of Alaska and England. Begins a series of oil paintings of the Santa Monica mountains. Experiments with a still video camera taking full length portrait pictures of friends and family. Designs sets and costumes of Puccini’s Turandot with Ian Falconer, for the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the San Francisco Opera.

Makes paintings using ideas from Turandot and Die Frau Ohne Schatten, and computer drawings on his Mac II FX computer. In the fall, begins designing sets and costumes with Ian Falconer for the Richard Strauss Die Frau Ohne Schatten.

In January, opens Turandot and a painting exhibition in Chicago. Finishes designs for Die Rrau Ohne Schatten and travels to London in the spring to supervise construction of the stage sets. Continues with new paintings in his Malibu studio. Opens Die Frau Ohne Schatten in London in November.

Travels to Barcelona for a retrospective of his work at the Palau de la Virreina. Opens a painting exhibition in New York of his “Very New Paintings.” Creates 12 prints with Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles. Continues research with color laser printed photographs from color slide pictures of travels to Japan, Scotland and England. Stages his two opera productions in fall 1993, for San Francisco and Los Angeles. Begins portrait and dog drawings in December.

Creates gouache drawings and collages. Editions four images of his color laser printed photographs. Designs costumes and scenery for 12 opera arias for the television broadcast of Placido Domingo’s Operalia 1994 in Mexico City.

Begins portrait paintings of his dogs, Stanley and Boodgie. Paints large abstracts to exhibit in Los Angeles. Paints BMW art car for the BMW art car collection. Exhibits paintings and drawings at the 1995 Venice Biennale, Italy. Opens his traveling Drawing Retrospective in Hamburg, Germany. Paints still lifes and makes digital inkjet prints from photographs of paintings. Paints museum walls in Munich for a group exhibition on the subject of the “Pierrot” figure. Opens painting exhibition of still lifes and dog paintings at Rotterdam Museum and attends his Drawing Retrospective opening at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Makes five etchings with aquatint with printer, Maurice Payne.

Paints portraits of family and friends in January. Opens his Drawing Retrospective at the L.A. County Museum of Art. Creates Snails Space with Vari-lites, “Painting as Performance,” at his Santa Monica Boulevard studio and exhibits this with other paintings in two New York galleries in May. Begins flower paintings. Travels to Melbourne to stage his opera production of Die Frau Ohne Schatten. Begins portraits in L.A. and continues painting portraits in England.

Restages his opera production of Tristan und Isolde at the Los Angeles Music Center Opera. Continues new portrait paintings, and opens exhibition of flower paintings and portrait paintings in London in the spring. Visits the southwest on two separate occasions during the summer. Celebrates his 60th birthday in Los Angeles. Travels to London at the end of July to receive Order of the Companion of Honour award from Her Majesty, the Queen of England. Makes new oil paintings of the Yorkshire landscape. Opens his photography exhibition at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne in December.

Paintings and drawings of Stanley and Boodgie are published in a new book called David Hockney’s Dog Days, in Europe and the USA. Begins new suite of etchings with Maurice Payne in Los Angeles. Continues large landscape paintings. Exhibits some of them at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in April. Paints A Bigger Grand Canyon, oil on 60 canvases, with an overall size of 81.5 x 293 in. and exhibits it at the National Museum of American Art, in Washington D.C. in June. Exhibits landscape paintings, drawings and photocollages at L.A. Louver in Venice, California. Paints A Closer Grand Canyon and makes other detail studies of the Grand Canyon in oil and in crayon.

Opens three exhibitions in Paris. Exhibits 1998 etchings at Pace Prints in New York. Installs nine Grand Canyon paintings at the Royal Academy of Arts, London for the Summer Exhibition. Travels to London and begins portrait drawings using a camera lucida. Exhibits some of the drawings in London, in June. Begins research and correspondence with art historians and friends concerning the use of mechanical devices by Ingres and other artists. Publishes an article in the RA magazine concerning his findings. Returns to Los Angeles and continues his drawings with the camera lucida, and his research. Participates in the Ingres and Portraiture International symposium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Gives a talk about his research to the art history department at Columbia University, New York.

Begins writing a book about his research and theories on old masters use of mechanical devices. In London, begins paintings of his garden and continues work on his book.

Completes his book, Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters. Gives lectures about his discoveries at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, and the L.A. County Museum of Art. In the summer, travels to England, Germany, Italy and Belgium. Works on a documentary with the BBC about his research and theories. Opens his traveling photography retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Gives lecture for MOCA. Attends Die Frau Ohne Schatten rehearsals at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. His film, Secret Knowledge, is broadcast in England. Exhibits paintings and drawings of his garden in Paris. Participates in symposium at NYU Law School concerning his book and film theories.

Has conversation with Lawrence Weschler about his book and film theories at the J. Paul Getty Museum auditorium in Los Angeles. Travels to New York to work on his opera production revival of Parade: A Triple Bill for the Metropolitan Opera. Begins working in watercolor. Travels to London and continues his watercolors. Sits for the painter, Lucian Freud, while in London. Assists Her Majesty the Queen of England in presenting the 2002 Visual Arts Award to a student at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in celebration of the Queen’s 50th Anniversary Golden Jubilee. Travels from London to the Norwegian fjords and to Iceland and creates watercolors and sketchbooks of his travels.

Begins watercolors in Los Angeles. Visits Norway. Continues work in watercolor, in London and in L.A. Attends the Optics, Optical Instruments and Painting: the Hockney-Falco Thesis Revisited conference in Ghent, Belgium. Travels to Florence, Italy to receive an honorary degree at the Academy of Fine Arts and to receive the Lorenzo de Medici Lifetime Career Award at the Florence Biennale.

Continues watercolors in London. Travels to Spain and France. Travels to Yorkshire to begin watercolors of the countryside. Exhibits watercolors at Richard Gray Gallery, New York in March. Exhibits portraits, garden and interior watercolors at the Whitney Biennial. Travels to Palermo, Sicily to receive the Rosa d’Oro award. Exhibits a selection of Spanish watercolors at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition. Continues watercolors of Yorkshire.

Resumes oil painting with portraits of friends in Los Angeles. Exhibits new Yorkshire watercolors at L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, California.



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