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David Hockney: Drawing from Life, explored Hockney as a draughtsman from the 1950s to the present by focusing on depictions of himself and a small group of sitters close to him: his muse, Celia Birtwell; his mother, Laura Hockney; and friends, the curator, Gregory Evans, and master printer, Maurice Payne.

Featuring around 150 works from public and private collections across the world, as well as from the David Hockney Foundation and the artist, the exhibition traced the trajectory of his practice by revisiting these five subjects over a period of six decades. Highlights included a series of new portraits; coloured pencil drawings created in Paris in the early 1970s; composite Polaroid portraits from the 1980s; and a selection of drawings from an intense period of self-scrutiny during the 1980s when the artist created a self-portrait every day over a period of two months.

The exhibition opened 27 February 2020 until the Gallery’s Covid-19 related closure on 17 March.

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An Introduction

Discover the exhibition with this short introduction written by our curatorial team.





This book will explore Hockney as a draughtsman from the 1950s to now, with a focus on himself, his family and friends. From Ingres to the iPad – this book demonstrates the artist’s ingenuity in portrait drawing with reference to both tradition and technology.

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