82 Portraits and 1 Still Life

This summer, David Hockney makes a welcome return to the Royal Academy with a remarkable and masterful 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. 

Returning to Los Angeles in 2014 after the death of his assistant, he slowly began to return to the quiet contemplation of portraiture. 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.

A must see. From this weekend. Essential to book.