Portrait of an Artist (Pool with two figures)

Tonight, a new auction record for a living artist is predicted to be set at Christie’s Evening Contemporary Art Sale. It is for a painting that when it was first sold, went to the buyer for $20,000, an amount that David Hockney had believed was a lot in 1972. Six months later, however, the buyer flipped it for $50,000! And now, 46 years later, it is on the market for $80 million! Pretty good longterm investment, I would say.

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David Hockney at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2017. © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art/artsy.com.

However, this amount is only the predicted selling price, and Christie’s is so confident in the pricing, that there isn’t even a guarantee. For the Ebsworth sale, in which the Edward Hopper sold for $85 million, right in the middle of the estimate, there was a global guarantee, so no matter the outcome, the collection was sure to sell. For this Hockney master piece, is it too big to fail? In this case, I would say so, and I’ll tell you why:<p style=”color:#000000;font-size:0;” class=”has-text-color”>However, this amount is only the predicted selling price, and Christie’s is so confident in the pricing, that there isn’t even a guarantee. For the Ebsworth sale, in which the Edward Hopper sold for $85 million, right in the middle of the estimate, there was a <a href=”https://www.artmarketmonitor.com/2018/11/14/christies-ebsworth-scores-with-317m-evening-sale/”>global guarantee</a>, so no matter the outcome, the collection was sure to sell. For this Hockney master piece, is it too big to fail? In this case, I would say so, <strong>and I’ll tell you why</strong>:<

However, this amount is only the predicted selling price, and Christie’s is so confident in the pricing, that there isn’t even a guarantee. For the Ebsworth sale, in which the Edward Hopper sold for $85 million, right in the middle of the estimate, there was a global guarantee, so no matter the outcome, the collection was sure to sell. For this Hockney master piece, is it too big to fail? In this case, I would say so, and I’ll tell you why:

  • His artwork has art historical reference. As Alex Rotter, chairman of Sotheby’s post-war and contemporary art department said:

“Hockney is one of the last living artists of his generation who has art-historical relevance… Hockney was always liked, he was present at auction, but he did not have prices that reflected his relevance in art history. Just three, four years back, his prices were average; $8 million for a very major painting. Compared to Bacon, to Freud, to Warhol, to Lichtenstein, his prices never moved up.”

  • His major retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum solidified interest in his work, especially the exhibition’s show-stopper, the one that is now the main focus of the Contemporary Evening Art Sale.
  • The story behind the painting: the idea of the composition was conceived by chance when Hockney saw two photographs, side by side, that looked like they could be a great pairing for one painting. However, the painting didn’t turn out as he hoped, and two months before his exhibition at André Emmerich Gallery, Hockney had to start from scratch again!

Check back in to read more reasons, plus an analysis of the outcome after the auction…

 

 

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