Hockney ‘California’ drawing in a sale

A large prime period ‘California’ drawing by the English artist David Hockney (b.1937) recently rediscovered by Chiswick Auctions in London sold for a total of £403,200 recently.

The auction house reported ferocious competitive bidding for the picture, which was sold to a trade buyer bidding in the room.

The crayon and pencil drawing View from Miramar Hotel, Santa Monica, measures 43 x 35cm and is signed and dated DH 1970.

Hockney had first moved to Los Angeles in 1964 and lived there intermittently ever since. Though currently residing mostly in Normandy, he still has his house and studio in the Hollywood Hills.

His first series of Californian swimming pool paintings were made from 1964-67.

Research has shown that the drawing was sold through the Kasmin Gallery, the London dealership run by John Kasmin who had first met Hockney in 1960 and begun selling his art from as early as 1963. It was later loaned to the British Art’s Council for the seminal Hockney exhibition at the Louvre in 1974. The exhibition featured key works such as A Bigger Splash’ and ‘Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures).

Head of Modern British & Irish Art, James Flower, consigned the work from a private collection in the U.K. The drawing was inherited from the current vendor’s father, who possibly purchased the work from the Knoedler Gallery, but in the past 15 years its importance had been completely forgotten. Its provenance now reassembled, it led the Modern British and Irish Art on June 25 with a guide of £200,000-300,000.

James Flower said of the work: “To have worked with this beautiful, museum-quality drawing has been an absolute pleasure, and to have handled the sale so successfully is incredibly satisfying. Our client’s are delighted with the price achieved.”

The same seller will now offer a rare Hockney print as part of Chiswick Auction’s July 25 sale of Modern and Contemporary Prints and Multiples. The lithograph Tyler Dining Room (MCA Tokyo 261) is one of 18 artist’s proofs aside from the edition of 98 issued in 1984 as part of the artist’s Moving Focus series. It was acquired by the owner’s father around 2009.

The Moving Focus series – comprising a total of 29 prints spanning intimate portraits of loved ones to complex depictions of interior scenes – is considered Hockney’s most expansive and innovative series of prints.

Set in Kenneth Tyler’s home, this image with its warped perspective, melting walls and vibrant colour offers a glimpse into the personal and professional relationship between Hockney and his collaborator. The estimate is £50,000-£70,000.