“David Hockney: Drawings from Life” will be the first major show dedicated to the great artist’s drawings in over two decades.
The exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery will include self-portraits as well as portraits of some of his favourite subjects; his mother Laura Hockney, his muse Celia Birtwell, and his friends Gregory Evans and Maurice Payne.
The show will be curated by Sarah Howgate and will feature over 150 works spanning the artist’s entire life. It will trace the trajectory of his practice by showing how he continued to revisit his favourite subjects over his career.
The exhibition will include intimate portraits created with both traditional and non-traditional drawing equipment like coloured pencil, pens, and even iPhone/iPad apps. Hockney famously experimented with different tools, most notably in the 1980’s when he made several portraits using a Polaroid camera. He described this as a Cubist depiction of form that pays homage to Picasso.
“By focusing on Hockney as a supreme draughtsman and his intimate and revealing sustained depictions of sitters over time – including himself – the exhibition will demonstrate his constant and continuing ingenuity with portrait drawings which reference both tradition and technology,” said Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery.
Some of the most exciting works that will be exhibited include a selection of drawings from a two-month period in the 1980’s when Hockney was producing a self-portrait everyday, as well as sketchbooks from his art school days in Bradford in the 50’s.
Some works on view have never been seen in public before, like drawings he did for a series of etchings, “A Rake’s Progress,” made in the 60’s after the artist’s first US visit.
This marks the second Hockney retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery, following a critically acclaimed show of portraits in 2006.
“David Hockney: Drawing from Life” will be at the National Portrait Gallery, London from February 27 to June 28, 2020.