David Hockney is moving to France – so that he can smoke and work
David Hockney has announced that he’s turning his back on Los Angeles – the city where he painted some of his greatest works – because of America’s censorious attitude to smoking.
The 82-year-old, who first moved to Los Angeles in 1964, has told The Wall Street Journal Magazine that he’s relocating to Normandy so that he can eat and smoke at the same time.
“I’d like to just work and paint,” he told WSJ. “The French know how to live. They know about pleasure.”
Los Angeles now has some of the strictest laws on smoking, which is banned in all public places, including outside restaurants and bars.
“I’ve smoked for more than 60 years but I think I’m quite healthy…” explained Hockney. “I’m 82. How much longer do I have? I’m going to die of either a smoking-related illness or a non–smoking-related illness.”
Born in Bradford in 1937, Hockney went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London.
Soon after graduating from the Royal College of Art, in 1964 Hockney moved to live in Los Angeles. It was here that he began working on his swimming pool series. Working with the bright, bold colours of acrylics, the swimming pool series has in many ways defined his career.
His 1972 painting – Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) – last year became the most expensive painting sold by a living artist when it was auctioned for USD$90m.
Hockney has consistently represented gay life and gay relationships in his work. Celebrating the domesticity of gay relationships, and drawing inspiration from the iconic publication Physique Pictorial.
In 2017, the Tate Britain presented a major retrospective of Hockney’s work, marking his 80th year. The exhibition then travelled to both Paris and New York.
Hockney is generally associated with the Pop Art movement, but his work also draws influence from the Expressionist traditions.