Sotheby’s is making a couple of interesting choices with the David Hockney Woldgate work it announced this morning it will be auctioning on November 17 in New York. In no particular order, the painting is being sold in New York instead of London; it has an eye-opening estimate of $9-12m for a body of work that has not seen action on the public market; and, Sotheby’s seems to be banking on the success of February’s big Tate retrospective which isn’t always a slam-dunk. Here’s how Sotheby’s press release characterizes the work:
Measuring over three and half meters in diameter, the work, captivated audiences as part of Royal Academy’s blockbuster 2012 exhibition David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, which featured spectacular large-scale paintings inspired by the East Yorkshire landscape. With an estimate of $9/12 million, Woldgate Woods, 24, 25 and 26, 2006 is set to establish a record for the artist at auction.
Grégoire Billault, Head of the Contemporary Art Department, noted: “David Hockney stands alongside Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud as one of the pillars of post-war British art. Ten years after we redefined the market for his work with The Splash, Sotheby’s is set to once again establish a new record with Woldgate Woods, 24, 25 and 26, 2006. With the opening of the Tate retrospective early next year, along with collectors’ tremendous appetite for quality, now is the perfect time to present one of the great accomplishments of the artist’s late career.”
Throughout 2006, Hockney executed a limited series of paintings of the Woldgate Woods in his native Yorkshire, charting the changes in light and colour as the seasons passed. Limited by the size of the canvas he was able to fit through the staircase at his Bridlington studio, he devised a method of using multiple canvases in order to achieve the desired scale. Woldgate Woods, 24, 25 and 26 October 2006, capturing the autumnal colors of East Yorkshire, is composed using six of these canvases. The huge public and critical success of this body of work has led to this quiet corner in the north east of England becoming known as ‘Hockney Country’, with the local tourist board even creating a Hockney Trail inspired by the locations immortalized in the series.