Ever since he made his first portraits at the age of sixteen, David Hockney has been fascinated by people – ‘the human clay’, as W. H. Auden put it – and how they have been represented throughout the history of art. As much as any other artist in recent years he has embraced, invigorated and often subverted traditional portraiture, making it a central concern of his art.
Through a careful selection of works both iconic and previously unpublished, this book explores the many ways in which Hockney has depicted the people around him, be they famous names such as Andy Warhol, Christopher Isherwood and W. H. Auden or lifelong friends such as Henry Geldzahler and Celia Birtwell, among many others. It tells the story of the artist’s relationships with family, friends and lovers, illustrated by works ranging from the intimate and frequently moving studies of his parents and partners to his very recent large-scale double portraits in watercolour.
Revealing and always touching, Hockney’s Portraits and People is both a unique record of the life and loves of one of the world’s best known artists, and a valuable glimpse of the moment when life and art meet.