David Hockney's home city Bradford gives him a gallery for 80th birthday

By Ian Youngs
Entertainment & arts reporter

Image caption,
Photos from Hockney's personal albums are among the pictures on display

The gallery where David Hockney found inspiration as a child has honoured the artist by opening a dedicated David Hockney Gallery for his 80th birthday.

Hockney visited Cartwright Hall in Bradford in the 1940s and '50s.

The venue's new permanent Hockney area contains works spanning his career, and unseen photos from his personal albums.

It will host a party on Sunday - his birthday - with a Hockney Disco and a Hockneyfication Station, where visitors can don a blonde wig and round glasses.

Hockney is widely regarded as Britain's greatest living painter and his exhibitions have drawn record-breaking crowds to the Tate and the Royal Academy in recent years.

He learned his craft in Bradford, pushing a pram containing art materials around the city as he painted on the streets.

Image source, David Hickes/Alamy
Image caption,
David Hockney pictured in Bradford in 1985
Image caption,
A golden 80 has been erected on the front of Cartwright Hall for the party

Some of those paintings of street scenes and launderettes and markets, which he did while at Bradford School of Art, are in the Cartwright Hall exhibition, as are some of his earliest sketchbooks.

"I used to love going to Cartwright Hall as a kid," Hockney said in a statement. "It was the only place in Bradford I could see real paintings."

Curator Jill Iredale said: "He's had quite a close connection with Cartwright Hall from when he was a child.

"The first times he came were his parents bringing him here. They had a really strong belief that education was important and his father was particularly interested in art."

Image caption,
A map of the city shows where the artist painted as a young man
Image caption,
Some of Hockney's early sketchbooks can be seen

Other parts of his career are represented, from his subsequent studies at the Royal College of Art in London to a large-scale California pool painting to iPad sketches he made while living back in Yorkshire six years ago.

He won't come to his birthday party at the gallery and its grounds on Sunday though - he has moved back to Los Angeles.

Ms Iredale, who travelled to meet him twice while planning the exhibition, said: "He has been incredibly generous in his support in lending us his works. He was very encouraging and supportive of what we were doing."

The photos from his personal albums include shots of him in the US standing by his beloved blue California pools soon after moving there for the first time in the 1960s.

Image source, David Hockney
Image caption,
Le Plongeur (Paper Pool 18), from 1978, is on show
Image caption,
Hockney designed the cover for the 1989 Bradford phone book

There are others of him with his mother and father on a boat in the Lake District in the 1970s, and with his dogs in the '80s.

"We were really lucky that he granted us permission to first of all actually look at them and secondly to display them in public because they've never been shown before," Iredale said.

Other items on display include a copy of the 1989 Bradford phone book, for which he designed the cover.

A separate permanent exhibition showcasing the artist's work already exists in Salts Mill in Saltaire, just outside Bradford.

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