“David Hockney, The Biography, 1937-1975: A Rake’s Progress” by Christopher Simon Sykes— The First Volume
Sykes, Christopher Simon. “David Hockney, The Biography, 1937-1975: A Rake’s Progress”, Doubleday, 2012.
The First Volume
We all have read a lot and hard about David Hockney and now we finally have the first volume of his biography which shows that the artist’s homosexuality was central to his art and to his life. Rather than a “just-the-facts” biography, this is more a collection of anecdotes about him along with analyses of his most successful paintings. We learn about his unsuccessful love life until he met his first lover, Peter Schlesinger, his student at UCLA.
Sykes had access to the archives, notebooks and paintings and brought them together with interviews with the artist himself, his family and his friends. Hockney was born in 1937 in northern England and when he was ten years old he already knew that he wanted to be an artist and when he finished school, he began studying at Bradford Art College and the Royal College of Arts. He was soon seen as the future of postwar art in Britain and a major mover of pop art. When the 1960’s came, Hockney became friends with some of the important figures in the English art world. At the same time, his career was growing and then he relocated to California and established himself on both sides of the Atlantic.
The 70’s brought Hockney to also work on set and costume design for the opera as well as experimentation with photography, photocopying and lithography. Now he has moved into digital art and creates on his iPad and iPhone. Hockney is coming close to his 75th birthday yet he is still creative and vibrantly alive. This volume, however, stops at 1975 but it is really more beneficial to see the whole an that to divide him into periods.
Hockney is indeed eccentric but that is what makes him so fascinating. Sykes shares all of the details with us and we see Hockney is a man who does not hide his sexuality and who would go anywhere and do anything to improve himself. Sykes brings private and public lives together as they are dependent on each other.
Now we just have to wait for the second volume and I am sure it will be worth the wait.