David Hockney, Lithograph of Water Made of Lines and a Green Wash. Courtesy of Lyndsey Ingram.

David Hockney: Pools

David Hockney’s obsession with swimming pools began when he moved to Southern California in the 1960s. For the British Pop artist, California’s poolside culture was a new form of paradise, filled with glistening chlorine waters and lounging socialites. Hockney’s utopian depictions of swimming pools often featured scenes of gay domestic life—and this marked a sharp contrast to the artist’s experience in England where homosexuality was still illegal. For example, Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) (1972) showcases the couple Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, meeting at the pool with an idyllic backdrop of rolling hills behind them. This seminal painting earned Hockney the title of the most expensive living artist in November 2018, selling for $90.3 million with fees.

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