David Hockney’s Harry Styles painting to go on show at National Portrait Gallery

The singer posed for the veteran artist at his studio in France

Hannah Roberts
Thursday 03 August 2023 08:46 BST
David Hockney's iPad drawings

A painting of pop star Harry Styles created by English artist David Hockney will go on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Hockney, 86, painted the “Watermelon Sugar” singer, 29, in his art studio in Normandy, France.

The painting is one of more than 30 new portraits that will be displayed for the first time when David Hockney: Drawing from Life opens on 2 November at the gallery off Trafalgar Square.

The portrait of Styles depicts the singer wearing an orange and red cardigan with a pearl necklace and blue jeans.

Styles was formerly a member of boy band One Direction, which was formed on The X Factor in 2010.

He has released three albums as a solo artist, including the 2022 album Harry’s House, which went to number one on the official UK albums chart.

Portraits of Hockney’s mother, the late Laura Hockney; his friend, the fashion designer Celia Birtwell; his former partner, curator Gregory Evans; and people from the local Normandy community where he lives will be displayed at the gallery.

The exhibition was previously on display at the National Portrait Gallery for just 20 days in 2020 before it was closed due to the pandemic.

In addition to the 33 new works, there are also colour-pencil drawings created in Paris in the early 1970s and a selection of drawings from the 1980s, when the artist created a self-portrait every day over a period of two months.

The art pieces in the exhibition have been rendered in pencil, pastel, ink and watercolour with Hockney also making use of a 35mm camera and apps found on the iPhone and iPad.

The new portraits of the artist’s partner, Jean-Pierre Goncalves de Lima, mark a return to painting after Hockney spent time using his iPad to capture the Normandy landscape around his home.

Altogether, around 160 works from public and private collections, including from the artist himself, comprise David Hockney: Drawing From Life.

David Hockney painting a portrait of Harry Styles (JP Goncalves de Lima/David Hockney/PA)

Speaking on the opening of the exhibition, Sarah Howgate, senior curator of contemporary collections at the National Portrait Gallery said: “Closing this five-star exhibition after just 20 days in 2020 was incredibly disappointing for the gallery and its many visitors, making this restaging of David Hockney: Drawing from Life all the more significant.

“Now revitalised with over 30 new energetic and insightful painted portraits of friends and visitors to the artist’s Normandy studio, it is a real privilege to have the opportunity to collaborate with David Hockney again.”

Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Nicholas Cullinan, said: “Following our reopening and the success of a brilliant first summer, I am delighted to be restaging this major exhibition for David Hockney at the new National Portrait Gallery, which makes good on a pledge I made to David in March 2020 that we would return to his wonderful exhibition in better days.

“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.”

The National Portrait Gallery reopened in June following a three-year, £41.3m refurbishment.

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