Hockney's Portraits and People

Marco Livingstone, Kay Haymer

“Faces are the most interesting things we see; other people fascinate me, and the most interesting aspect of other people—the point where we go inside them—is the face. It tells all.” —David Hockney

Ever since he made his first portraits and self-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 work.

Through a careful selection of works both iconic and previously unpublished, this book explores the many ways in which Hockney has depicted the people around him, be they famous names such as Andy Warhol, Christopher Isherwood, and W.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 more recent large-scale double portraits in watercolor.

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.


Marco Livingstone


Marco Livingstone is an art historian and independent curator. His many publications on David Hockney include the first monograph and the catalogues of a number of museum exhibitions for which he was also curator.

Kay Haymer


Kay Heymer, a curator and art historian, is the head of Modern Art at the Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf. He organized the exhibition David Hockney: Exciting Times Are Ahead at the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, in 2001.