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Hockney Catalogue Raisonné By 2026

May 29, 2024
A photograph of David Hockney

David Hockney (photo courtesy of Connaissance des Arts)

Compiling a catalogue raisonné while the artist in question is still alive is a relatively recent phenomenon in academic art history. Scholars often published their catalogues for well-known historical artists decades or centuries after their deaths. Rehs Galleries began research for the catalogue raisonnés on  Julien Dupré, and Daniel Ridgway Knight in 1991 and Emile Munier in 2003, decades after any of those artists were alive. However, beginning work on an living artist’s catalogue raisonné has its benefits; the most important of which is that researchers and academics can consult them regarding biographical details and authentication of works. And after nearly twenty years, the first volume of the David Hockney catalogue is nearing completion.

The first volume of the Hockney catalogue will be dedicated to just the artist’s paintings. It will feature over 35,000 works and will be published online in 2026. Hockney was actively involved in the catalogue’s writing and research, providing a series of essays to accompany the entries. Like Hockney’s embrace of digital forms of artistic media, his catalogue raisonné will be entirely digital. That way, updates, edits, and revisions can easily be made if necessary. Since Hockney has used a wide variety of media throughout his artistic career, from paintings to prints to iPad drawings, it is unknown how long the rest of the catalogue project will take. If just the paintings took almost twenty years, it may be a long time before we see a completed David Hockney catalogue raisonné. However, with the contemporary British master coming up on his eighty-seventh birthday, it is generally a smart move to get an endeavor like this off the ground while he is still alive and useful as a repository of information.

The Hockney catalogue is a collaborative effort overseen by the David Hockney Foundation and David Hockney Inc. The artist, his studio assistants, and the trustees of both organizations are actively involved in its completion, working alongside a dedicated team of art historians, researchers, and other specialists. This collective effort underscores the project’s significance, making it a true testament to the art community’s commitment to preserving Hockney’s legacy. According to David Hockney Inc.’s director, Shannan Kelley, the catalogue project has been a monumental undertaking that has involved “expanding and upgrading our inventory and archival databases, adding staff and resources to enhance the preservation and management of physical as well as digital collections of work by David Hockney and all materials associated with his life and career.”