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...


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