Sotheby’s is announcing one of the most famous images from David Hockney’s career will be offered with an estimate of £20-30m during Contemporary Art Evening Sale in London on February 11th. The Splash (1966) is a companion work to the Tate Modern museum’s famous A Bigger Splash (1967) which is one of the best known works by Hockney and a key image from the 1960s.
The Splash previously set a record for Hockney’s work when it sold for £2.9m at Sotheby’s in London in 2006. Since that time, several works by Hockney have sold for many times that price resetting the artist’s market several times over. The first works to break into eight-figures were later paintings from after Hockney’s return to his Yorkshire home. Then, at the end of 2018, Hockney’s market was reset again with collector Joe Lewis’s dramatic sale of Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) for $90.3m in New York.
That sale was followed a year ago in London by the double portrait of Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott which made £37.6m in London last March. Although these were the top prices for Hockney’s work, pool pictures have continued to post very strong sales. The artist’s work on paper Piscine De Medianoche (Paper Pool 30), sold for $11.3 million at Sotheby’s in May of 2018. Recently, Hockney’s first pool painting, Picture of a Hollywood Swimming Pool from 1964 sold at Sotheby’s NY in November 2019 for $7.2 million.
The Splash is one of a series of three ‘splash’ paintings. The largest is the Tate Modern’s A Bigger Splash, which is similar in composition and scale. The Splash is 72 by 72 inches. A third painting, A Little Splash (1966), remains in a private collection and has never been sold publicly.