David Hockney Drawings Coming to Morgan Library and Museum in New York

The Morgan Library & Museum is delighted to present “David Hockney: Drawing from Life,” opening October 2, 2020, and running through May 30, 2021. David Hockney (b. 1937) is one of the most internationally renowned living artists. The exhibition is organized by the National Portrait Gallery, London, in collaboration with the artist and the Morgan.

The exhibition was curated by Sarah Howgate, Senior Curator of Contemporary Collections at the National Portrait Gallery, London. It will be the first to focus on his portraits on paper, and one of very few to investigate his drawing practice. Featuring over 100 drawings and prints, it will trace a trajectory from the artist’s early sketches as a student, through his Ingres-like portraits of the 1970s, to his return to the sketchbooks and imaginative iPhone and iPad portraits in the early 2000s.

“David Hockney: Drawing from Life” will be unique in exploring the artist’s drawing practice through a small group of sitters he has depicted repeatedly over the years: his muse and confidante, the designer Celia Birtwell; his mother; his friend and former curator Gregory Evans; master printer Maurice Payne; and the artist himself. Each of these individuals has been important to Hockney. Over time, he has rendered them in different media and forms, ranging from pencil, pen and ink, and pastel drawings to etchings, photo collages, and iPhone and iPad drawings. In revisiting these people over decades, Hockney gives us a singular insight into the evolution of his practice.

The Morgan is a fitting venue for this intimate presentation of drawings, which will take place in the museum’s Morgan Stanley East and West Galleries. In 2017, the Morgan acquired Celia, Paris (1969), the first portrait Hockney made of his close friend, the celebrated textile designer Celia Birtwell. The drawing, included in this exhibition, is a superb example of the precise, delicate style of line drawing—indebted to Ingres and Picasso—that Hockney developed in the late 1960s, notably in portraits of friends and family.

“As an institution devoted to drawings from the early modern to the contemporary period, the Morgan has long sought to find a way to show David Hockney’s graphic work,” said the Morgan’s Director, Dr. Colin B. Bailey. “We are thrilled to collaborate with the National Portrait Gallery, London, – and of course, David Hockney himself – to make this desire a much-anticipated reality.”

The exhibition’s co-curator at the Morgan, Isabelle Dervaux, Acquavella Curator of Modern and Contemporary Drawings, said, “The exhibition reveals an intimate side of this internationally known artist. In the self-portraits as in the portraits of his closest friends done over a period of more than fifty years, Hockney uses drawing to explore with honesty and vulnerability the passage of time and the aging process”

An array of engaging public programs will accompany the exhibition. Details will be announced soon. Additionally, the exhibition will feature a fully-illustrated catalogue featuring around 150 beautifully reproduced portraits.

About David Hockney

David Hockney, OM, CH, RA (b. 1937), is an English painter, draftsman, printmaker, stage designer, and photographer. As an important contributor to the Pop art movement of the 1960s, he is one of the most influential and celebrated British artists of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

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