Menzies Art Brands



David Hockney is one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century. Now well into the twenty-first century and into his eighties, Hockney shows no signs of fading from the cutting edge of artistic practice. Hockney has worked in a vast array of media including painting, photography, drawing, and printmaking, making him one of the most versatile artists of his time. His iPad drawings epitomise this versatility.

Having produced lithographs and etchings early in his career, Hockney began to experiment with newer forms of printmaking in the 1980s such as Quantel Paintbox, a computer program that allowed the artist to sketch directly onto the screen. As technology progressed, so did Hockneys practices, buying one of the first iPads in 2010. After mastering the Brushes application, Hockney visited Yosemite National Park in California in 2010 and 2011 and drew a series of landscapes en plein air. These 24 drawings which make up the Yosemite Suite were later released in a limited edition of fine prints, including the present work.1

The Brushes app also allowed Hockney to watch a replay of the drawings creation, of which he said, Until I saw my drawings replayed on the iPad, Id never seen myself draw. Someone watching me would be concentrating on the exact moment, but Id always be thinking a little bit ahead.2

The Yosemite Suite follows a set of iPad drawings of Hockneys native East Yorkshire, which captured the seasonal changes to the landscape from winter to summer. Exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (Twenty Eleven), consisted of one large oil painting and 51 iPad drawings printed on paper, and was considered a single artwork by the artist.

The Yosemite drawings depict a different, more organic side of California: a travellers solitary journey through nature; the vibrant colours capturing the lush vegetation and dramatic vistas of Yosemite in their splendour.3 Our present lot, Untitled No. 20, foregrounds an emblematic coniferous tree in a dense forest, with the sharp lines of the granite rockface appearing in the distance. While these characteristics are typical of any depiction of Yosemite, these views are entirely Hockneys own. Rather than exact reproductions, as Hockney states, they are drawn landscapes. My eyes see more.4

The comment is a testament to an artist, who in embracing technology, remains resolutely inventive and at the forefront of picture-making.

1. The Yosemite Suite, David Hockney Foundation,
2. David Hockney, quoted in Made in Britain [online auction catalogue], Sothebys, London, 16 September 2020, lot 28,
3. Bellman, E., David Hockney Paints Yosemite on an iPad, New York Times, 2 May 2016,
4. Ibid.

Asta Cameron

We use our own and third party cookies to enhance your experience of our site, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing. By continuing to use our site you consent to the use of cookies. Please refer to our privacy and cookie policy.