Almost the first things we encounter on entering the illuminating survey “David Hockney: Drawing from Life” at the Morgan Library & Museum are a couple of self-portraits done in 1954 by the precocious artist (born in Bradford, Yorkshire, in 1937) when he was a seventeen-year-old student.1 A dark-haired boy stares us down through owlish glasses in an achingly sensitive pencil drawing, his hair combed forward in a thick fringe. A collage version translates the confrontational boy and his natty ensemble into primary colors: blue jacket, yellow tie, and red scarf, against a newsprint background that enters into a conversation with a checked shirt. Toward the end of the show, we find a self-portrait done in watercolor...


New to The New Criterion?

Subscribe for one year to receive ten print issues, and gain immediate access to our online archive spanning more than four decades of art and cultural criticism.

Popular Right Now