David Hockney: Drawing from Life

David Hockney (b. 1937) is one of the master draftsmen of our times. Drawing lies at the heart of his studio activity and has consistently underpinned his work. From early pen-and-ink drawings and photocollages to more recent experiments with watercolor and digital technology, Hockney’s inventive visual language has taken many stylistic turns. Inquisitive, playful, and thought provoking, his drawings reflect an admiration for both the old and modern masters, from Rembrandt to Picasso.

Drawing from Life explores Hockney’s record of encounters with those close to him. Portraits of family and friends show the artist’s mother, Laura Hockney; textile designer Celia Birtwell; his friend and former curator Gregory Evans; and printmaker Maurice Payne. Also featured is a large selection of self-portraits. By focusing on Hockney’s intimate and revealing depictions of five people dear to him, the exhibition charts the effect of the passage of time—on his sitters and his relationship to them, and on the development of his style over the last seven decades.

This online exhibition was created in conjunction with the exhibition David Hockney: Drawing from Life on view October 2, 2020 through May 30, 2021.

National Portrait GalleryThe exhibition is organized by the National Portrait Gallery, London, in collaboration with the artist and the Morgan Library & Museum.

The New York presentation is made possible by Mr. and Mrs. Robert King Steel and Katharine J. Rayner. Additional support is provided by the Rita Markus Fund for Exhibitions, with assistance from Dian Woodner and David and Tanya Wells.