What’s New on David Hockney: November 2018
The number of living artists who tear out results in the tens of millions of dollars at auction is very restricted and is currently led by Jeff Koons, whose Orange Balloon Dog in 2013 was close to 60 million dollars (stopping at 58.4 million from Christie's New York ).
The reason is not so illogical: on the one hand, the end of production stabilizes the offer, on the other time, allows institutions and art historians to select the most important works and make them 'immortal' in museums, exhibitions, and publications.
However, there is a small but aggressive group of octogenarian artists whose market now behaves in a very similar way to that of historicized artists, especially as regards works dating back to past decades; among these stand out German Gerhard Richter and, more recently, one of the Fathers of English Pop Art, David Hockney, a very active eighty-one year old who is able to experiment with painting on the iPhone.
Although his current record does not reach nearly 30 million dollars, his production of the '60s and' 70s, especially that related to his past Californian, seems destined to overcome this value and bring Hockey to become the dearest living artist.
The recent institutional support to the artist and the awards obtained from the most important world museums including Tate, Met, and Pompidou, have been pushing his market for at least a couple of years, so much that Christie's is convinced to propose at auction in New York on the evening of Thursday, November 15, his huge canvas of 1972, "Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)" suggesting an estimate on demand in the order of $ 80 million.
The composition combines all the aspects that characterize the best works of the artist: the theme of the pool with its elaborate reflections, the self-portrait of the artist and the allusion to the homosexual freedom of Californian life, all in a monumental dimension.
Obviously, Christie's hopes to close the auction with a record sale. Moreover, the exceptional nature of the artwork is underlined by the fact that "Hockney's paintings with pools" are rarely put up for auction, as most of them are already in the museum's collections. As usual, the painting will be exhibited by Christie's in Hong Kong, London, and Los Angeles before being sold in New York on November 15th.
If you consider that several artworks by Andy Warhol, the 'father' of American Pop Art, have been beaten over $ 50 million (and even 100 million, both in the auction and privately), and that the huge metal Koons is produced in five versions, the estimate is not so unreasonable.
In any case, the real surprise regards the method accepted by the seller: the lot will be offered without reserve, a courageous act of transparency in a world where the opposite logic of guarantees seems increasing to dominate the high end of the market, to the detriment of training transparent prices.
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