Painting

David Hockney Reveals 82 New Portraits at the Royal Academy

Jul 02, 2016 - Oct 02, 2016Royal Academy of Arts, London

David Hockney returns to the Royal Academy of Arts with a remarkable new body of work. Embracing portraiture with a renewed creative vigour, he offers an intimate snapshot of the LA art world and the people who have crossed his path over the last two years.

After his monumental landscape exhibition burst to life in their Main Galleries in 2012, Hockney turned away from painting and from his Yorkshire home, returning to Los Angeles. Slowly he began to return to the quiet contemplation of portraiture, beginning with a depiction of his studio manager. Over the months that followed, he became absorbed by the genre and invited sitters from all areas of his life into his studio.

His subjects – all friends, family and acquaintances – include office staff, fellow artists, curators and gallerists such as John Baldessari and Larry Gagosian. Each work is the same size, showing his sitter in the same chair, against the same vivid blue background and all were painted in the same time frame of three days. Yet Hockney’s virtuoso paint handling allows their differing personalities to leap off the canvas with warmth and immediacy.