Hockney given Order of Merit

Artist DAVID HOCKNEY with his 'Bigger Trees Near Warter' -  seen for the first time outside of London, with its arrival at York Art Gallery, for the official launch of Art in Yorkshire - supported by Tate, which will be officially opened by Sir Nicholas Serota, and which will see works by iconic artists such as David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Henry Moore and Dame Barbara Hepworth featured in exhibitions taking place in 19 urban and rural galleries across the county...from today 10th Feb 2011 until the end of October 2011.'Hockney at York Art Gallery runs from the 12th Feb until 12th June 2011.
Artist DAVID HOCKNEY with his 'Bigger Trees Near Warter' - seen for the first time outside of London, with its arrival at York Art Gallery, for the official launch of Art in Yorkshire - supported by Tate, which will be officially opened by Sir Nicholas Serota, and which will see works by iconic artists such as David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Henry Moore and Dame Barbara Hepworth featured in exhibitions taking place in 19 urban and rural galleries across the county...from today 10th Feb 2011 until the end of October 2011.'Hockney at York Art Gallery runs from the 12th Feb until 12th June 2011.

Artist David Hockney has been appointed a member of the prestigious Order of Merit by the Queen, Buckingham Palace has announced.

Hockney, 74, who was born in Bradford and now lives in Bridlington, has been an internationally renowned painter since he burst on to the scene in the early 1960s as one of the leaders of British pop art.

He is understood to have formerly rejected honours bestowed upon him but has been a member of the Order of the Companion of Honour, which is conferred for recognised services of national importance.

Over the decades he has cemented his position as an important artistic figure and extended his talents to work as a photographer, draughtsman, printmaker and stage designer.

The honour is a special award presented to individuals of great achievement in the fields of the arts, learning, literature, science and other areas like public service.

Members of the Order include playwright Sir Tom Stoppard, former House of Commons speaker Baroness Betty Boothroyd and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the worldwide web.

Hockney was an outstanding student at the Royal College of Art and began to attract attention from outside the institution before he graduated.

After leaving, a trip to Los Angeles confirmed all his dreams about the city - and its lifestyle and landscape became important features of his work for which he is perhaps most famous but since living and working in East Yorkshire he has created numerous works featuring the Wolds and Bridlington.

His new exhibition, David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, is due to open at the Royal Academy of Arts in London on January 21.

It will feature about 150 mainly landscape works, including some previously unseen pieces and is expected to generate huge interests in the sites where they were painted, such as the Wolds, Bridlington and Bradford.

The Wolds are the inspiration for many of the Bigger Picture paintings with locations including Kilham, Woldgate Wood, Thixendale and Garrowby Hill.

The coast is the subject of a series of films also to be shown for the first time showing his relationship with the landscape around his Bridlington home.

Hockney is also working with tourism agency, Welcome to Yorkshire, on a Hockney Trail around many of the sites.

His huge “Bigger Trees Near Warter”, which is spread over 50 canvasses, smashed visitor records at galleries in the region when it went on show last year.

This week David Hockney has criticised artists like Damien Hirst who are known to use a team of others to help create their works saying it was “insulting” for an artist to employ others to make their creations.

His comments appear in an interview in the Radio Times which has an example of his Wolds work on the front cover.

Hockney features on this Sunday’s Countryfile programme at 6.30pm on BBC1. The programme will screen a film at the core of his forthcoming Royal Academy exhibition and will feature some of his new work, paintings, films and even iPad drawings of the East Yorkshire landscape around Bridlington. Ellie Harrison also visits David Hockney at his Bridlington studio.