Phillips auction house in London is banking on David Hockney, launching an annual auction dedicated to the artist’s work. This year’s Hockney auction, part of the Editions season, is due to take place 20 September following a public exhibition at Phillips’s Berkeley Square headquarters (14-20 September).
“This standalone Hockney auction will become a regular fixture in Phillips’ London sale calendar and will feature a diverse selection of rare to market works, of all mediums and at a variety of price points,” a statement says. Works consigned this autumn include two of Hockney’s earliest lithographs, both made in 1954: Fish and Chip Shop (est £15,000-£20,000) and Woman With A Sewing Machine (est £10,000-£15,000).
Phillips hopes to emulate its “white glove”, 100%-sold 78-lot auction of Hockney’s works held last September which fetched £3.3m in total. The top lot, The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 30 May, 2011, sold for £340,200 (with fees) against an estimate of £120,000 to £180,000. Another work from this series (The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven), 2 January, 2011) will also feature in this year's sale with an estimate of £80,000-£120,000.
Robert Kennan, Head of Editions, Europe, at Phillips tells The Art Newspaper: "Hockney is constantly evolving and experimenting with new techniques... his body of work has grown with his audience and we see that in the fact that both established and new collectors are significantly interested in these pieces. This fixed auction is an opportunity to acquire Hockney’s work at all price points; from entry level works priced at £1,000 to higher value pieces at £250,000 and above."
In terms of supply and demand for the artist's works, Alex Vardaxoglou, founder of Vardaxoglou Gallery in London, adds: "I find I always have a strong demand for good and rare Hockney 1960s-1980s works from my clients and I have been successful in placing a number of important works with collectors so I see no reason why this demand for good works shouldn’t continue."
The move comes off the back of numerous high-profile Hockney projects including his immersive art show at the new Lightroom space in London (Bigger & Closer, not smaller & further away), which has been extended until 3 December, and the exhibition David Hockney: Drawing from Life launching at London's National Portrait Gallery (NPG) later this year (2 November-21 January 2024). The NPG show, which focuses on five sitters including the textile designer Celia Birtwell, was open just 20 days before the gallery’s closure due to Covid-19 in March 2020.
Last year Hockney showed his latest floral iPad works at five of his regular galleries: LA Louver in Los Angeles, Galerie Lelong in Paris, Annely Juda Fine Art in London, Gray in Chicago and Pace in New York. Hockney turned 86 on 9 July.