The painting carries an estimate of around $35 million, according to a press release from Phillips, and is billed as “unequivocally the most important landscape by the artist in private hands.” The hefty price tag makes it Hockney’s most expensive landscape to ever appear at auction, and, if its estimate is achieved, would place the work in the artist’s top three most expensive auction results.
David Hockney’s “Nichols Canyon” (1980) Credit: Courtesy Phillips
“Nichols Canyon” marked Hockney’s embrace of landscape painting following a brief foray into photography in the 1970’s, and was included in the landmark 1981 exhibition “A New Spirit in Painting” at the Royal Academy in London. The painting will be on view at Phillips London until November 1st, then travel to Hong Kong, and finally New York before heading to auction.
Hockney described the process of painting the work in a statement: “The moment you live up here, you get a different view of Los Angeles. First of all these wiggly lines seem to enter your life, and they entered the paintings. I began Nichols Canyon. I took a large canvas and drew a wiggly line down the middle which is what the roads seem to be. I was living up the hills and painting in my studio down the hills, so I was traveling back and forth every day, often two, three, four times a day. I actually felt those wiggly lines.”
Meet the artist at his Los Angeles home
The sale of “Nichols Canyon” comes near the end of an eventful year for the artist and his market. In February, his iconic painting The Splash (1966) sold at Sotheby’s London for £23.1 million ($29.8 million).