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Hockney, David (b. 1937)  
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Schlesinger figured prominently in Hockney's images of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Jack Hazan's film of 1972, A Bigger Splash, focused on the end of the lovers' relationship.

At the same time that he was involved in his first serious relationship, Hockney began to paint a series of double portraits of couples. That series would include paintings of writer Christopher Isherwood and painter Don Bachardy in their Santa Monica home (1968) and of art curator Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott in their New York City apartment (1969).

Both of these double portraits assumed iconic status in the 1970s for portraying gay male couples in an everyday domestic routine, as if reaching such a stage were as simple for homosexuals as for heterosexuals.

In 1967, Hockney illustrated a limited edition of fourteen poems by C. P. Cavafy. These etchings beautifully capture the longing and passion of the Greek poet and demonstrate Hockney's accomplishment as a graphic artist.

Hockney's first portraits of archetypal slim, tanned, and sexy California boys may have created open-mouthed dismay for their unapologetic homoeroticism when he first exhibited them, but with time such paintings have assumed honored places in late twentieth-century art history.

The painting of the naked and alluring Peter Schlesinger entitled The Room, Tarzana (1967) is a particularly important example. Nude portraits of subsequent partners Gregory Evans (sprawling against pillows, clad only in gym socks [1976]) and Ian Falconer (swimming underwater in a 1982 Polaroid collage) have also been greeted as works of art rather than as scandals.

An important characteristic of Hockney is his susceptibility to stimulus by new media and fresh subjects. The abandon and astonishing invention with which he hurls himself into explorations of all available means to depict the world around him are key features of his continuing growth as an artist.

Over the years he has moved easily from oil paints to acrylics, from pen and ink drawing to etching, from the formed dyed paper technique of his 1978 Paper Pools series to photographic collages, from Cubist-inspired paintings to designing innovative sets for operas as different as Tristan und Isolde and The Magic Flute.

He has, however, always remained a storyteller celebrating what brings him pleasure. "My sources are classic, or even epic, themes, landscapes of foreign lands, beautiful people, love, propaganda and major incidents [of my own life]," he says.

In his self-assured quest to grow as an artist in his own way, Hockney has succeeded in convincing large numbers of people to share his view that "Cézanne's apples are lovely and very special, but what finally can compare to the image of another human being?"

John McFarland

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arts >> Overview:  American Art: Gay Male, 1900-1969

Prior to Stonewall, most gay artists were closeted, but they were inventive in creating codes for those in the know; after 1945 some adventurous artists developed independent networks for the distribution of works of gay art.

arts >> Overview:  American Art: Gay Male, Post-Stonewall

After Stonewall, American gay male art underwent a radical transformation as artists came out and began to treat gay themes openly and directly.

arts >> Overview:  Contemporary Art

Contemporary Art, which designates new currents in art since 1970, is identified with postmodernism; during this period an art addressing gay and lesbian identity emerged.

arts >> Overview:  European Art: Eighteenth Century

During the eighteenth century, men whom we would now call homosexual, such as Johann Winckelmann, Horace Walpole, and William Beckford, were at the forefront of public taste, championing respectively the fresh interest in Classical, Gothic, and Oriental styles.

arts >> Overview:  European Art: Twentieth Century

A large number of significant twentieth-century European artists focused on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender themes, making such concerns crucial to the understanding of twentieth-century European art.

social sciences >> Overview:  Los Angeles

The glbtq history of Los Angeles, the U.S.'s second largest metropolis, is replete with cultural, social, and political firsts.

arts >> Overview:  Photography: Gay Male, Post-Stonewall

Post-Stonewall gay male photography merits recognition for its contribution to fine art, documentation, photo-journalism, and advertising, as well as erotica.

arts >> Overview:  Set and Costume Design

Set and costume design for stage and film are fields that have attracted a large number of talented gay men and lesbians.

arts >> Overview:  Subjects of the Visual Arts: Bathing Scenes

A common theme in painting since the Renaissance, bathing scenes are often suffused with a distinctly homosexual atmosphere.

arts >> Angus, Patrick

American realist artist Patrick Angus produced keenly observed and compassionate depictions of the gay underclass of the 1980s.

arts >> Bachardy, Don

American artist Don Bachardy, the long-time companion of novelist Christopher Isherwood, has achieved renown in his own right for his nudes and celebrity portraits, which honestly convey the personalities of his sitters.

literature >> Cavafy, C. P.

Alexandrian Greek poet C. P. Cavafy has written some of the greatest homoerotic poems of all time.

arts >> Clark, Ossie

Ossie Clark helped define the fashion mood of 1960s London.

literature >> Isherwood, Christopher

A major Anglo-American novelist and a pioneer in the gay liberation movement, Christopher Isherwood created gay characters whose homosexuality is a simple given, an integral part of the wholeness of personality and an emblem of their common humanity.

arts >> Jansson, Eugène Frederik

Eugène Jansson, sometimes described as Sweden's first gay artist, has only recently begun to receive the international attention that his accomplishments merit.

arts >> Kemp, Lindsay

Mime artist, renegade, and magnetic stage performer, Lindsay Kemp has long had a cult status in alternative theater.

arts >> Michelangelo Buonarroti

The most famous artist who ever lived, Michelangelo left an enormous legacy in sculpture, painting, drawing, architecture, and poetry; while the artist's sexual behavior cannot be documented, the homoerotic character of his drawings, letters, and poetry is unmistakable.

arts >> Orphanos, Stathis (b.1940), and Sylvester, Ralph (b.1934)

Publishers Stathis Orphanos and Ralph Sylvester, partners in life as well as business, are best known for their beautifully produced limited edition books; in addition, Orphanos is acclaimed for his photographs of celebrities and male nudes.

arts >> Richardson, Tony

Bisexual British film and stage director Tony Richardson was instrumental in challenging British censorship codes, especially regarding the representation of homosexuals.

arts >> Roberts, Mel

In his 1960s and 1970s images of hikers, bikers, and surfers, photographer and activist Mel Roberts captured the spirit of the California Dream that lured thousands of gay men to the Golden State in search of freedom and opportunity after World War II.

literature >> Whitman, Walt

Celebrating an ideal of manly love in both its spiritual and physical aspects, Walt Whitman has exerted a profound and enduring influence on gay literature.


Adam, Peter. David Hockney and His Friends. Bath, England: Absolute Press, 1997.

Hockney, David. David Hockney by David Hockney. Nikos Stangos, ed. London: Thames & Hudson, 1976.

_____. Paper Pools. Nikos Stangos, ed. New York: Abrams, 1980.

_____. That's the Way I See It. Nikos Stangos, ed. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1993.

_____, and R.B. Kitaj. "R.B. Kitaj and David Hockney Discuss the Case for a Return to the Figurative." The New Review 3.34-35 (January-February 1977): 75-77.

_____, with text by Lawrence Weschler. Cameraworks. New York: Knopf, 1984.

Joyce, Paul. Hockney on Photography: Conversations with Paul Joyce. New York: Harmony Books, 1988.

Livingstone, Marco. David Hockney. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1981; new English edition: London: Thames & Hudson, 1996.

Webb, Peter. Portrait of David Hockney. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1988.


    Citation Information
    Author: McFarland, John  
    Entry Title: Hockney, David  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated December 20, 2004  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  


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