David Hockney - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, March 30, 2023 | Phillips

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  • “Depend upon it, the love of nature is deeply implanted in man: at least the pursuit of it
    is almost a certain road to happiness.”
    — John Constable

    David Hockney is one of the most influential and widely recognised artists of our time, whose vibrant, bold, innovative art has enchanted audiences for over half a century. Conceived in 2011 in anticipation of the artist’s landmark 2012 retrospective, A Bigger Pictureat the Royal Academy in London (which then travelled to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany), the present work comprises part of a series of 61 iPad drawings where Hockney chronicles the atmospheric changes from winter to spring in the East Yorkshire landscape by his late-mother’s Bridlington home. Alongside other pieces demonstrating the crucial role landscape has played throughout the artist’s oeuvre, Hockney’s iPad compositions were printed on a large scale and presented as a grand narrative cycle throughout one of the exhibition galleries. 


    Over the course of his career, Hockney has pushed through the boundaries of what fine art is through his experimentations across a wide array of mediums. He first embraced digital art in 2007, when he began making work directly on his iPhone in rapidly executed yet strikingly detailed compositions. Maintaining the immediacy of drawing while allowing for a new elevation of precision and freedom in its graphic quality, these works became increasingly dynamic with the introduction of the iPad into his practice following its launch by Apple in 2010. Hockney’s pioneering use of the tablet has since radically redefined his creative approach and has been the focus of numerous exhibitions in recent years, including at the Royal Academy of Arts in London (2021) and Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris (2021-2022). 

    “When [nature] is at its height it looks as though champagne has been poured over the bushes and it is all foaming up and it looks marvelous.”
    — David Hockney 

    Rendered in ebullient hues of predominantly green, brown, and daffodil-yellow, The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 19 April showcases Hockney’s technical mastery whilst also highlights the connections between the artist’s landscapes and their art historical precedents. The repetitive nature of his observations immediately recalls the Impressionist master Claude Monet’s meditations on light and atmosphere, such as his Haystacks series (1890-1891) of harvested wheat piles depicted in fluctuating light throughout the season. At the same time, similar to the Impressionists painting over light or white canvas grounds to brighten hues, the iPad’s built-in backlighting automatically infuses Hockney’s compositions with enhanced luminosity. 


    [Left] Claude Monet, Stacks of Wheat (End of Summer), 1890/91, Art Institute of Chicago
    Image: Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Arthur M. Wood, Sr. in memory of Pauline Palmer Wood
    [Right] Claude Monet, Wheatstacks, Snow Effect, Morning, 1891, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
    Image: Courtesy of Getty's Open Content Program

    Juxtaposing the work’s flat finish are the layers of shading and dots that channel the meticulous hand of Georges Seurat’s pioneering pointillism. Aided by technology, however, Hockney applies his vast knowledge of traditional painting techniques on a miniscule scale. He thereby achieves a degree of detail and painterliness that is equally impactful as his oil and acrylic pieces, as attested by critics who praise ‘how energetically [the iPad drawings] manage to achieve texture in their depthless surfaces’. i


    Vincent van Gogh, The White Orchard, 1888
    Collection of Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)


    Favourable comparisons can also be drawn to the emotive expressivity of Vincent van Gogh’s spring canvases, whose work was brought into direct dialogue with Hockney’s for the 2019 exhibitionHockney – Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature. Both inspired by their shared love of nature, Hockney’s iPad drawings embrace digital innovation to revitalise the most traditional of subjects, immersing viewers into a symphony of texture and colour undeniably influenced by the Dutch master, as beautifully captured in The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 19 April.


    Collector’s Digest

    • Continuing to break records at auction and the focus of several, major retrospectives in recent years, David Hockney is undoubtedly one of the most important British artists working today.

    • The Arrival of Spring series was one of Hockney’s earliest forays into iPad drawing.

    • This sale marks the first time this iPad drawing from the series has been offered before at auction.

    • Since his inclusion in the seminal 1961 Young Contemporaries exhibition held at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, Hockney has continued to exhibit widely. Recent solo shows include an immersive exhibition at Lightroom at King’s Cross, London (Jan – Apr 2023); a presentation of iPad works at L.A. Louver in Los Angeles (Nov 2022 – Jan 2023); Teylers Museum in the Netherlands (Sep 2022 – Jan 2023); Bayeux Tapestry Museum in France (Sep 2022 – Apr 2023); and at the Art Institute of Chicago (Aug 2022 – Jan 2023).


    i Matthew Sperling, ‘Nature boys – Hockney and Van Gogh in Amsterdam’, Apollo Magazine, 7 March 2019, online

    • Provenance

      Lelong Gallery, Paris
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      London, Royal Academy of Arts, David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, 21 January - 9 April 2012, p.233 (another example exhibited)
      Melborne, National Gallery of Victoria, David Hockney: Current, 11 November 2016 - 13 March 2017, p. 128 (another example exhibited)

    • Artist Biography

      David Hockney

      David Hockney (b. 1937) is one of the most well-known and celebrated artists of the
      20th and 21st centuries. He works across many mediums, including painting, collage,
      and more recently digitally, by creating print series on iPads. His works show semi-
      abstract representations of domestic life, human relationships, floral, fauna, and the
      changing of seasons.

      Hockney has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Royal
      Academy of Arts in London, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, among many
      other institutions. On the secondary market, his work has sold for more than $90

      View More Works


The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 19 April

signed, numbered and dated '13/25 David Hockney 2011' lower margin
iPad drawing in colours on wove paper
140.1 x 105.2 cm. (55 1/8 x 41 3/8 in.)
Published by the artist in 2011, this work is number 13 from an edition of 25.

Full Cataloguing

HK$700,000 - 900,000 

Sold for HK$889,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 31 March 2023