New, Rare, and Everywhere: David Hockney Is Set to Rule New York This May
Hockney's 1990 landscape could sell for $30 million at auction in May—but there is plenty of opportunity to see new work by him before then.
Lovers of David Hockney will be in for a treat next week in New York. Two solo booths at the city’s Frieze Art Fair will be dedicated to the British artist’s work, while a solo show of 17 new paintings is on view at Pace Gallery’s 25th Street location. Meanwhile, a painting expected to shatter the artist’s auction record will go on view at Sotheby’s Upper East Side headquarters on May 4.
Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica (1990) is estimated to sell for $20 million to $30 million at Sotheby’s contemporary art evening sale in New York on May 16. The 10-foot-wide painting, which has never appeared at auction, was recently included in Hockney’s celebrated touring retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate Britain, and the Centre Pompidou. It is expected to nearly double the artist’s previous auction record of $11.7 million with fees, set in 2016 for a 2006 painting of a wooded landscape.Major works by Hockney from his most desirable bodies of work—such as the double portraits or pool pictures—rarely come up for auction, though there has been a modest uptick in supply for other series in recent years. Hockney’s total auction sales hit $43.3 million last year, up from $35 million in 2016, according to the artnet Price Database. (As of March 31, his work has fetched $9.1 million so far this year.)
The Fauve-inspired landscape headed to Sotheby’s may not be as finely executed or sought-after as his work from the ’60s and ’70s, but the hefty estimate should hardly give Hockney-philes whiplash. Reports suggest that prize works by the artist have already sold privately for far more than his public record. According to In Other Words, a painting of Hockney’s friend Patrick Procktor has sold for around $25 million, while a portrait of the dealer John Kasmin is said to have fetched $15 million. Gagosian is also rumored to have sold a work by the artist in the range of $30 million, the newsletter reported.Meanwhile, the most recent work by the in-demand octogenarian is now on view at Pace Gallery in Chelsea. Their West 25th Street space is presenting hexagonal paintings—largely landscapes and images of Hockney’s home—made in 2017 and 2018. One critic called the unorthodox shaped canvases “at once wondrous and gimmicky.” (A Bigger Interior with Blue Terrace and Garden, included in the Pace show, was the newest painting in the Met’s iteration of Hockney’s retrospective.) The paintings are priced in the seven figures, according to a spokeswoman.
Visitors to Frieze New York next week (May 3 to May 6) will also see two very different sides of Hockney. First, Pace will shatter the stereotype that seniors fear technology by presenting works Hockney made on his iPhone and iPad using the “Brushes” app between 2009 and 2012. Each printed in editions of 25 and priced in the $25,000 range, they train Hockney’s eye away from grand vistas to more mundane, quotidian objects, like an iPhone plugged into the wall, a half-full ash tray, or a bowl of oranges on the kitchen table.
Elsewhere at the fair, the London-based gallery Offer Waterman will stage its own Hockney solo booth, focusing on works on paper from 1958 to 1983. The presentation includes a 1961 drawing inspired by the artist’s unrequited crush on a fellow art student (literally named Peter Crush, in an absurd twist of fate) at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in the UK. The drawing includes the words, “I will love you at 4.15 on Tuesday.” The works on the stand range in price from $50,000 for photo collages to $815,000 for paintings, according to the Antiques Trade Gazette. So no matter what your favorite medium, subject matter, or price range, the first week in May is your David Hockney wonderland.
Frieze New York takes place on Randall’s Island from May 3 to May 6. The exhibition “Something New in Painting (and Photography) [and even Printing]” is on view at Pace Gallery, 510 West 25th Street, until May 12.
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