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David Hockney (b. 1937)

Self-Portrait, 6 April 2012 drawn 6 Apr 2012

Ink-jet printed iPad drawing | 40.6 x 30.5 cm (image) | RCIN 812508

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  • A self-portrait of David Hockney; full face, wearing glasses; signed, lower right.

    David Hockney was appointed to the Order of Merit in 2012 and four months later executed this iPad drawing (in a unique print) for the Order of Merit portrait series in the Royal Collection. Throughout the latter part of his career Hockney has experimented with the potential of new technologies to produce graphic art – the Polaroid camera, the photocopier and fax machine, graphics software on computers, and from 2008 the Apple iPhone and iPad.1 Most of Hockney’s iPad drawings have been landscapes, for which the wide range of colours and effects afforded by the Brushes app, the transparency and luminosity and, crucially, the speed of execution are particularly well suited. The app also allows Hockney to play back the drawing, stroke by stroke, so that he can ‘watch’ himself at work afterwards. New software allows the images to be enlarged and printed well beyond the format of the screen without pixilation. Here, the ability to draw with lines of varying diffuseness has allowed the artist to capture the out-of-focus effect of a face seen from very close to, over life-size and filling the pictorial field, with only the white lines of the hair and lower edge of the spectacles drawn sharply.

    Text adapted from Portrait of the Artist, London, 2016

    Presented by the artist to Queen Elizabeth II as part of the Order of Merit portrait series, July 2013

  • Medium and techniques

    Ink-jet printed iPad drawing


    40.6 x 30.5 cm (image)

    55.8 x 43.2 cm (sheet of paper)

    76.3 x 58.4 cm (frame, external)

  • Alternative title(s)

    Self-portrait, OM

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.