This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for July 9, 2017: bottle rockets

July 9, 2017: birthday: David Hockney

It’s the 80th birthday of the artist David Hockney, born in Bradford, England, in 1937. Hockney is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century and had a big impact on the pop art of the 1960s. He grew up in a working-class family and started drawing cartoons in grammar school when he became bored with schoolwork. One of his first works was a portrait of his father, an oil painting that he sold for 12 dollars. Later he received a gold medal in the graduate competition at the Royal College of Art in London. After frequent visits to the United States, he settled in Los Angeles, where he painted his famous series of swimming pools. He said: “I was 18 when I first visited London, I’m very provincial like that, but I must confess the moment I got to America I thought: This is the place. It was more open, with 24-hour cities and pubs and restaurants that didn’t close.”

This year, Hockney’s retrospective at the Tate Gallery in Britain became the most popular exhibition, receiving 478,082 visitors even before its final weekend at the end of May, after a 16-week run.