Artnews_ The David Hockney exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London was only open for 20 days in 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic shut it down. When David Hockney: Drawing from Life returns on November 2 after the museum’s recently completed renovation, a portrait of Harry Styles will be among the new works included.
Last May, Hockney spent two days at his studio in Normandy capturing the image of the charismatic singer, down to his “unmistakable tousled fringe”.
“I wasn’t really aware of his celebrity then,” Hockney told British Vogue. “He was just another person who came to the studio.”
The acrylic on canvas painting of the famous singer and former member of One Direction shows Styles sitting in a cane chair wearing a bright yellow and red striped cardigan, blue jeans, a white undershirt, rings, and a pearl necklace around his neck.
“David Hockney has been reinventing the way we look at the world for decades,” Styles told British Vogue. “It was a complete privilege to be painted by him.”
Styles was a fan of the English artist, draftsman, printmaker, stage designer, and photographer prior to their meeting. In 2020, the musician wore a pair of hand-painted Bode corduroy pants that featured a talismanic illustration of Hockney by artist Aayushia Khowala for his Vogue cover shoot.
Another notable music figure who sat for a new Hockney portrait was producer Clive Davis. According to British Vogue, Davis was the person who first suggested Styles also visit the artist’s studio. After Davis told Hockney about the new album Harry’s House, the artist’s studio assistant sent the musician an invitation. “He replied straight away and said, yes, he’d love to,” Hockney said.
Hockney’s process of painting Styles was simple. “Everybody just came to sit,” he told British Vogue, before admitting: “Now I know Harry’s a celebrity, though: I’ve seen all his music videos.”
In addition to Davis and Styles, the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition Drawing From Life showcases Hockney’s work over the last 60 years through portraits of five sitters in a variety of mediums and styles: his mother, Celia Birtwell, Gregory Evans, Maurice Payne and the artist himself. Timed tickets to the exhibition are available online for £21 ($26.71 USD).