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David Hockney exhibition unveils Harry Styles portrait

The National Portrait Gallery is to welcome back iconic British artist David Hockney this November — and this time he's bringing a sprinkle of pop stardust along with him.

David Hockney: Drawing from Life was an exhibition the London gallery first opened in March 2020. It was open for just 20 days before it was forced to shut by the first national Covid lockdown. Now it's coming back, and excitingly, it'll be in an expanded form with brand new, never-before-seen works.

Over 30 new portraits have been added for this second run, all painted at the artist’s Normandy studio between 2021 and 2022. They will all make their public debut when the exhibition reopens on 2 November 2023.

Without a doubt a highlight for many visitors will be a striking new portrait of superstar Harry Styles. The One Direction icon is captured in acrylic paint, and sat for the work over two days in May last year when he visited Hockney’s studio in France. Styles told British Vogue — who first exclusively revealed the news of this new work — that “it was a complete privilege" to be painted by Hockney.

Photo of Hockney painting a canvas as Styles sits next to him
Hockney paints Harry Styles at the artist’s studio in Normandy, where his portrait of Clive Davis can also be seen in the background. Photo: JP Gonçalves de Lima

Hockney told the magazine that “I wasn’t really aware of his celebrity.”

The new Styles work will be displayed alongside 32 other new paintings, as well as all the portraits originally exhibited in the 2020 presentation. These returning works are rendered in pencil, pastel, ink and watercolour, and were created using both traditional and non-traditional drawing equipment, including coloured pencil, pen, the 35mm camera and apps found on the iPhone and iPad.

Featuring around 160 works in total, the show will trace the trajectory of Hockney’s practice, predominantly through his intimate portraits of five sitters: his friend, Celia Birtwell; his mother, Laura Hockney; his former partner and curator, Gregory Evans; his master printer, Maurice Payne; and the artist himself.

Announcing details of the exhibition's second run, Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery said he was "delighted to be re-staging this major exhibition" and that it "makes good on a pledge I made to David in March 2020 that we would return to his wonderful exhibition in better days."

Painted portrait of Styles in red and yellow jumper sitting on a chair facing the viewer
David Hockney, Harry Styles, May 31st, 2022. © David Hockney Photo: Jonathan Wilkinson

He added, "Hockney is one of the most internationally respected and renowned artists today, and to see his new portraits, made over the last couple of years and which demonstrate his constant and continuing ingenuity and creative force, is life affirming."

When are David Hockney exhibition tickets available?

If you're keen to see this show at the National Portrait Gallery then you're in luck, as tickets are on sale right now. It's recommended that you book in advance, especially as this exhibition has a noticeably short run of just 11 weeks. Adult tickets are £21, and concessions are from £10.50.

David Hockney: Drawing from Life, supported by White & Case, runs at the National Portrait Gallery in London from 2 November 2023 until 21 January 2024.

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