Dear David Hockney
David Hockney – 81-year-old British painter, who recently became the most expensive artist of our contemporaries.
An anonymous buyer paid $ 90.3 million at Christie’s for his work “Portrait of an Artist (Two-Figure Pool)”.
A private collector who also wished to remain anonymous exhibited a picture for sale. Christie’s immediately stated that they thought this work was the greatest masterpiece of the era. After the sale of the work in this auction house, it was revealed that in a dozen or so years the price of work will increase significantly.
The artist painted this painting 213.5 x 305 cm in size in 1972 with acrylic on canvas, and it became his most famous work. Mr. Hockney said that he had conceived its story when he had two photos on the floor of his studio in London: a man swimming underwater and a young man looking down at something. In order to take a suitable picture of a swimmer, the artist shot hundreds of photographs in which his friend and assistant were captured in a swimming pool in a villa near Saint-Tropez. The second photo Hockney made in Kensington Gardens in London. On it – the lover and muse of the artist Peter Schlesinger, who appears in several of his paintings.
After his intention was born, the painter worked on a canvas 18 hours a day for two weeks, and finished it the night before sending the work to an exhibition in New York. There, the work was a resounding success, and was sold for $ 18,000, and later resold a few times, increasing more and more in value.
It was the second experiment to paint a picture. Over the first version of the work of Hockney he worked six months in 1971, but, disappointed in the result, he destroyed it.
The work was exhibited in the most prestigious galleries in New York, London and Paris. The last known owner was a billionaire from the Bahamas, Joe Lewis, whose collection contains works by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse.
David Hockney bypassed the previous record of selling the work of contemporary artist Jeff Koons, whose stainless steel sculpture “A Balloon Dog (Orange)” (Balloon Dog (Orange) in 2013 bought $ 58.4 million. By the way, not so long ago – in May this year – was sold at Sotheby’s for $ 28.5 million painting Hockney, written in 1990, “Highway on the Pacific Coast and Santa Monica.”
David Hockney is an artist painting in pop art. He was born in Yorkshire, in England in 1938, but in the 1960s, he moved to California, falling in love with this sun-drenched edge for the rest of his life. A survey conducted among artists in the United Kingdom, showed that colleagues consider this painter the most influential British artist of all time. He is a holder of many orders and winner of an even greater number of awards, and his works are exhibited in leading museums of modern art.
His works carry scandal. In the XXI century, this is no surprise. However, a few decades ago, depicting, for example, homosexual relationships on the canvas was not accepted. Nevertheless, one of Hockney’s early paintings entitled “Teeth Brushing, Early Evening” captured two anthropomorphic creatures in 69 pose. Instead of their genitals, however, they depicted tubes of Colgate paste. The picture was painted in 1962, when there was still five years before the decriminalization of same-sex relations in the UK. Interestingly presented here is characteristic for pop art image of mass consumer products. The artist wove them into the plot outline, and this is not at all like, for example, straight-line pictures with Andy Warhol’s Coke and Coca-Cola cans.
Later, double portraits were often recurring motif in the work of Hockney. “My Parents”, a double portrait, written in 1977, became one of his most famous works in this genre. Another common story of his work – pools with clear water. In such a successfully sold work “Portrait of an Artist”, both of these creative lines came together.
Experts note that the sharp rise in prices for works by David Hockney on the art market was influenced by a retrospective exhibition that brought together 200 of his works from different times, held in 2017 at the Pompidou Center in Paris, the Tate Gallery in London and the Metropolitan Museum in New York. In the London Tate exhibition was the most visited in the history of this gallery, it was visited by 478 thousand people. The demand for Hockney’s work among collectors jumped and their number on the art market also increased.
In 2001, the artist became the author of a book about the art of the Renaissance “Secret knowledge”, which reveals the secret of the realism of paintings of that period. The secret, in his opinion, is that Renaissance artists used mirror projections using Camera Lucida and Camera Obscura.
According to this book, the British Air Force channel in the early 2000s shot a documentary. In it, Hockney reproduces elements of paintings by Jan van Eyck and Diego Velázquez.