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National Portrait Gallery 2020 Exhibitions

THE NATIONAL Portrait Gallery has announced three exhibitions for 2020.

David Hockney: Drawing from Life – February 27 to June 28.

The first major exhibition devoted to David Hockney’s drawings in over twenty years, David Hockney: Drawing from Life will explore Hockney as a draughtsman from the 1950s to now, by focusing on his depictions of himself and a small group of sitters close to him: his muse, Celia Birtwell; his mother, Laura Hockney; and friends, the curator, Gregory Evans, and master printer, Maurice Payne.

Featuringaround 150 works from public and private collections across the world, as well as from the David Hockney Foundation and the artist, the exhibition will trace the trajectory of his practice by revisiting these five subjects over a period of five decades.

The intimate portraits are rendered in pencil, pastel, ink and watercolour, using both traditional and non-traditional drawing equipment including coloured pencil, pen, the Polaroid camera and apps found on the iPhone and iPad.

Tickets without donation: £18 – £20.

Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things – March 12 to June 7.

Cecil Beaton’s portraits from a golden age will be brought together for the first time in a major new exhibition.

Featuring around 150 works, many of which are rarely exhibited, Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things will explore the extravagant world of the glamorous and stylish ‘Bright Young Things’ of the twenties and thirties, seen through the eye of renowned British photographer Cecil Beaton.

The exhibition will bring together loans from national and international collections and in particular an extensive loan from the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s.

Tickets without donation: £18 – £20.

BP Portrait Award 2020 – May 21 to June 28.

The BP Portrait Award is the most prestigious portrait painting competition in the world and represents the very best in contemporary practice. The competition is aimed at encouraging artists over the age of eighteen to focus upon, and develop, the theme of portraiture in their work.

The competition, with a first prize of £35,000, has a huge international reach, with the BP Portrait Award 2019 receiving entries from 84 countries. The exhibition, which featured 44 paintings, was seen by 311,996 people at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Free admission.

Inspiring People

From June 29, 2020, the Gallery in St Martin’s Place will temporarily close while essential building works for the Inspiring People project take place. The transformed Gallery, designed by Jamie Fobert Architects, will reopen in spring 2023 with a comprehensive re-display of the Collection, significant refurbishment of the building and new public spaces including a more welcoming visitor entrance, public forecourt and state of the art Learning Centre.

During the redevelopment, the National Portrait Gallery, London will share its unique Collection of portraits with the nation in a major programme of activities across the UK, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and a major new grant from Art Fund.

For more information visit

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, WC2H 0HE

Tel: 0207306 0055 (general information) or 020 7312 2463 (recorded information)