The Royal Academy is currently hosting an intimate exhibition of recent portraits by the Royal Academician David Hockney, revisiting the genre that has played such a major part across his long career.
David Hockney RA: 82 Portraits and 1 Still Life will offer an insight into the artist’s life in Los Angeles, his connections to the art world and the people who have crossed his path over the last few years. Hockney’s subjects – all of whom have been invited by the artist to sit for him – include friends, family,
acquaintances and staff.
Each portrait has been created within the specific time frame of three days, which Hockney describes as ‘a 20 hour exposure’. The portraits provide a remarkable insight into the personality of the sitters, in addition to exploring Hockney’s own development working in the medium of acrylic. The works will be hung chronologically within the Sackler Galleries to emphasise this development. Hockney has set himself a considerable challenge to complete this large body of work. His deep interest in portraiture and its changing role in the history of art are evident as he challenges our perceptions of the value of portraiture in the 21st century.
The exhibition is accompanied by a beautifully illustrated book, David Hockney: 82 Portraits and 1 Still Life, published by the Royal Academy of Arts in June 2016. The book features incisive text exploring Hockney’s work in portraiture by Tim Barringer, Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art at Yale University and Edith Devaney, Curator of Contemporary Projects at the Royal Academy of Arts, interviews the artist. Photographs revealing intermediate stages of several paintings, from first to last mark, will give the reader a unique insight into Hockney’s working method.