Renowned painter David Hockney created a portrait of Harry Styles back in 2022, which the National Portrait Gallery in London will soon be displaying in an upcoming exhibition.
Fans of Harry Styles would, without missing a beat, likely say or agree that the artist is a work of art in every respect. However, the touching figure of speech has actually become quite literal. In June 2022, Styles sat within the walls of David Hockney’s Normandy Studio to be painted. The sessions lasted two days, and the end result was a striking portrait that showcased both Hockney’s recognizable visual techniques and Styles’ fashion sensibilities.
Soon, the public will finally get a chance to see the portrait in question firsthand. According to My Modern MET, London’s National Portrait Gallery will be exhibiting the piece in the upcoming re-staging of David Hockney: Drawing from Life.
The gallery’s previous run of the Hockney exhibition only lasted 20 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With things returning to normal, the institution intends to bring it back in full force with nearly 160 works (including 33 newer pieces like Styles’ portrait) on display from November 2, 2023 to January 21, 2024.
When Two Artists Meet
One might think that everyone knows Harry Styles—after all, it’s hard not to with the star’s many accolades and accomplishments. However, the 86-year-old Hockney needed a bit of a crash course on the popstar. Initially, the painter hadn’t recognized the multi-hyphenated performer until much later on.
“Now I know Harry’s a celebrity, though: I’ve seen all his music videos,” shared Hockney in an interview with Vogue UK.
Hockney also painted acclaimed music producer Clive Davis, who “suggested inviting Styles to swing by,” as per Vogue UK. The popstar gave an immediate “yes” when Hockney’s studio assistant sent a note.
Painted By a Master Artist
As with many of his works, Hockney starts with “the head first,” then “everything else,” he explained in the same Vogue UK feature. It’s an instinctive creative process that yields vibrant works bursting with personality.
“He’s [Hockney] not interested in fame. He’s interested in depicting people and their relationships,” stated Sarah Howgate, the senior curator of contemporary collections for the National Portrait Gallery.
This is mainly the reason why Hockney has been focusing on painting close circles of friends, with outsiders more an exception than the general rule. According to ArtNews, other portraits in his upcoming exhibition include ones of his mother Anne Twist and even himself. Still, despite his priorities, the English painter is a behemoth in the world of 20th century art.
As for Styles, he didn’t seem to mind that the artist hadn’t known he was a celebrity.
“David Hockney has been reinventing the way we look at the world for decades,” Styles told Vogue UK. “It was a complete privilege to be painted by him.”
Banner photos by Jean-Pierre Gonçalves de Lima and Jonathan Wilkinson via the National Portrait Gallery website.