David Hockney

After David Hockney made his first major impact as a painter, he visited Los Angeles in 1963 and settled in the city that he had always fantasized about in his youth. The hazy and sun-drenched Los Angeles landscape and lifestyle are reflected through the quiet sensibility characteristic of his artwork. During this period, he created seminal works, including the acclaimed paintings of turquoise pools in Californian modern homes. In the summer of 1966, while Hockney was teaching painting at U.C.L.A., a 19 year old art student named Peter Schlesinger enrolled in his class. Hockney was fascinated with the beautiful Californian boy with blond hair, and had Schlesinger pose for his paintings and drawings. Despite the 11 year age difference, Schlesinger soon became Hockney's muse and boyfriend. During the five year relationship, Schlesinger posed as a central figure in many of Hockney's Los Angeles paintings, including the famous work Peter Getting Out of Nick's Pool (1966). Schlesinger himself recounts the role he played in Hockney's aesthetics and artistic identity during his Californian period: "David had a big romance with California … and I was an object in it." This work on paper was included in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art exhibition David Hockney: Portraits, June – September 2006

David Hockney, one of the most celebrated artists of his generation, is known for his constant eagerness to experiment with new media and forms. As a part of his prolific career, Hockney has designed sets and costumes for some of the world's leading opera companies, such as Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival in 1975; Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sortileges at the Metropolitan Opera in New York; and Mozart's Die Zauberflote in 1978. His interest in opera coupled with his ability to brilliantly capture a mood and a sense of atmosphere transformed the presentation of classical music. In 1975, Roland Petit, a French choreographer and dancer renowned for his modern interpretation of ballet, sent Hockney the libretto of his future production, Septentrion, with the music of Marius Constant, to find out if Hockney wanted to do the stage designs. The ballet was inspired by a Roman gravestone in the museum of Antibes which commemorated a boy named Septentrion. The exhibited work Untitled (Study for Septentrion) provides a glimpse into this historic collaboration, the symbiosis of avant-garde ballet based on an antique story with Hockney's idyllic re-imagination of modern American landscape.