Sale of the week: David Hockney’s works

Sale: The Hockney Sale

Location: Bonhams, 101 New Bond Street, London W1, tel: +44 (0) 20 447 7447. Sale starts 1pm.

Date: Wednesday (April 20). On view Sunday, 11am-3pm; Monday and Tuesday 9am-4.30pm; day of sale 9am-11am. Catalogue online at

Need to know: David Hockney, the Bradford-born painter who will be 74 this year, is one of Britain’s greatest living artists and known for the diversity of his work, which has ranged from his celebrated series of swimming pool pictures created while living in California during the 1960s to the “joiners” photo collages formed with Polaroid prints.

He has also worked on stage designs for Glyndebourne and La Scala, created an entire book based on drawings of his dachshund dogs and embraced computer art programmes such as the Quantel Paintbox of the 1980s and, most recently, the iPhone “Brushes” application.

The accessibility of his work has made him hugely popular around the world, a fact demonstrated by an exhibition of 150 of his creations at London’s National Portrait Gallery in 2006 that proved to be one of the most successful shows in the gallery’s history. In the same year, Sotheby’s sold the iconic pool picture “The Splash” for a record £2.9m.

Highlights: Although Hockney’s major works are valued in the millions, his prolific output means that more affordable pieces are often available. This 87-lot sale comprises mainly etchings and lithographs with estimates from just £400.

But the highlight is a rare signed proof of the lithograph “An Image of Celia”, contained in the original frame, hand-painted by Hockney. The Picasso-inspired portrait depicts his friend and muse Celia Birtwell, the celebrated textile designer, and is tipped to fetch up to £80,000.

A pen-and-ink drawing of 1960s fashion king Ossie Clark (to whom Birtwell was married) is also on offer at £10,000-£15,000, while a quintessential Hockney photo collage made from 68 Polaroid prints – “George, Blanche, Celia, Albert and Percy” – is estimated at £15,000-£20,000.

The most recent offering is an inkjet-printed computer drawing dating from 2008 and entitled “Winter Road Near Kilham”. Hockney created the image using Photoshop software and produced 25 prints, of which this is number 20 (£10,000-£15,000). Perhaps the most unusual piece, however, is a 15-inch ceramic cat made by the artist in 1955. The first lot in the sale, it is tipped to fetch £5,000-£7,000.

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