David Hockney

"What fascinates me is not just technology but the technology of picture-making,” says Hockney. I spend more time painting, of course, but I treat the iPad as a serious tool. The iPad is influencing the paintings now with its boldness and speed.

So said David Hockney in a Los Angeles Times interview by Barbara Isenberg, published Jan 23rd 2011, the year the present work would be created. The article continues..

Hockney’s iPhone art began in 2008. A rotating group of about 30 friends, curators, dealers and writers regularly receive his e-mailed artworks, and the artist even urged his friends first to get iPhones, then iPads to archive the continuing e-mails. According to J-P Gonçalves de Lima [Hockney's long-time studio assistant], Hockney has already sent out nearly 400 email drawings on his iPhone and 300 more on his iPad.

I had to get an iPad so I could receive the drawings on the same platform he used to make them,” observes Stephanie Barron, senior curator of modern art at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Barron, who has already curated three major Hockney shows for the museum, printed out about 20 iPad drawings for her office walls and often uses them as screensavers.

The still lives have an intensity and attention to detail which I find astonishing to have been done on an iPad,” she says. “I also think he’s able to capture light in a way that is remarkable.”

At home, in his upstairs bedroom, Hockney leaves the purple curtains open, and he likes to lie in bed drawing on his iPad the sunrise, sea, rain, snow or whatever else he might see.

It’s so quick,” Hockney says. “You see something, turn it on and it’s ready. If I had a sketch book in my pocket and a little box of watercolors, I’d have to get a bit of water, or if I had a sketch book and a box of pencils, I’d need to get the pencils. With the iPad, you just start drawing. “

Let him demonstrate. He earlier mastered the Brushes application on his iPhone, and now he’s done the same with the iPad. Using the Brushes app, he changes colors and brush thickness with strokes of his stylus, a new tool he uses more often than his fingers these days. Drawing quickly to illustrate his new medium, he points out how he changes, moves and mixes colors. “It took awhile to get good at it,” he says, smiling. “I’m very good now.

Hockney these days draws mainly on the iPad, which has many advantages over the smaller iPhone. The iPad also allows him to play the drawing back. The Brushes app permits animation of the drawings to show the actual process of the drawing’s formation, a feature that seems to fascinate not just whomever Hockney shows it to but also it seems Hockney himself. Last October, one of Hockney’s iPad drawings graced the cover of the New Yorker, while an animated version of that cover helped launch the magazine’s inaugural table format.


David Hockney (b.1937)
iPad drawing printed on paper
Sheet Size
37 x 28 in : 94.0 x 71.0 cm
Framed Size
40 ½ x 32 in : 103.0 x 81.5 cm
Edition / Inscriptions
From the edition of 25, signed dated and numbered by the artist
Printed by the Hockney Studio, Los Angeles
Published by the artist
Pace Gallery, New York
Private collection, New York
Benefield, Richard; Weschler, Lawrence; Howgate, Sarah and the artist; David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition, San Francisco, de Young Museum, 26 October 2013 - 20 January 2014, no. 163, p. 149 (another example illus.)
Devaney, Edith; Maidment, Simon; Bowen, Li; Gayford, Martin; “David Hockney: Current,” Catalogue Raisonné: iPhone & iPad drawings; published by the National Gallery of Victoria, Thames & Hudson, London, (col. illus. p.65 no.852-2011)
A reference to this work can be found on the Hockney Studio website as Untitled 852, 2011 - https://www.hockney.com/works/digital/ipad
L.A. Louver, Venice, CA, 'David Hockney: iPhone & iPad drawings, 2009-2012', 28 March-12 May 2018 (another example exhibited)
San Francisco, de Young Museum, 'David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition', 26 October 2013 - 20 January 2014, no. 163 (another example exhibited)
Another example from this edition is held in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
No longer available


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