David Hockney - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 18, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Robert Miller Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1996

  • Exhibited

    Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans-Van Beuningen; Vienna, Kunsthaus Wien; New York, Robert Miller Gallery, David Hockney: Paintings and Photographs of Paintings, October 29, 1995 - June 15, 1996, p. 31 (illustrated)
    Bonn, Kunst-und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, David Hockney: Exciting Times are Ahead, June 1 - September 23, 2001; then traveled to Humblebæk, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, David Hockney: Malerie 1960-2000, October 12, 2001 - January 27, 2002, no. 65, p. 179 (illustrated)

  • Literature

    "Fresh Paint", The New Yorker, New York, May 27, 1996 pp. 136-137 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Painted in 1995, David Hockney’s Three Oranges with a Vase is a definitive example of the artist's acclaimed series of floral still life paintings. While flowers have always functioned as a poignant punctuation within such iconic early paintings as Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott, 1969, or Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy, 1970-1971 (both Tate, London), it was with works such as the present one that Hockney first began to intensely explore the venerable tradition of still life painting on its own - prompted, in part, by the sudden passing of his closest and most valued confidant, Henry Geldzahler, in 1994. During this period of intense mourning, Hockney developed a habit of painting intimate flower still lifes as get-well cards for friends. Painting with a renewed sense of observation, intensity and joie-de-vivre, Hockney embarked upon creating paintings composed in a classical still life format. Executed with rich, luscious brushwork, Three Oranges with a Vase presents the viewer with a vase of yellow gladiolus surrounded by beautifully modulated oranges, set upon an implied cobalt blue table top and against a green background. The work beautifully demonstrates Hockney’s reverence for such modern Masters as Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, and Vincent Van Gogh, as well as the distinct sensibility for form, color and space that he is acclaimed for.

    Born 1937 in the north of England and gaining critical acclaim in the 1960s, David Hockney is considered to be one of the most influential artists of our time. His remarkable oeuvre, which currently is subject of a major retrospective at Tate Britain in London, oscillates among the greatest avant-garde movements of the 20th century while simultaneously defying any strict categorization. While the subject matter of flowers had arguably already been an interest of Hockney’s at earlier stages of his career, they assumed an elevated position following his visit to the 1995 exhibition Claude Monet, 1840-1926 at the Art Institute of Chicago. "I came out of that exhibition and it made me look everywhere intensely. That little shadow on Michigan Avenue, the light hitting the leaf. I thought: 'My God, now I've seen it. He's made me see it'… I came out absolutely thrilled'" (David Hockney, quoted in Hockney on Art: Conversations with Paul Joyce, New York, 1999, p. 203).

    Three Oranges with a Vase is testament to Hockney’s deep understanding of the venerable lineage of the floral still life motif within the pantheon of art history, while also exemplifying his broader pre-occupation with the experience of looking in the 1980s and 1990s. As is typical for paintings from this period, the present work is characterized by the colliding of flatness with the illusion of spatial depth: while the folds in the tablecloth, modulation of the oranges and the cast shadows articulate Hockney’s eye for veracity and imply three-dimensionality, the broad, simplified brushstrokes with which the gladiolus and the green backdrop are rendered essentially flatten the composition. At the same time, the artist’s frame is joyously decorated with all over yellow polka dots imbuing the entire object with a sense of levity and turning an otherwise two-dimensional painting into a near-three-dimensional tableau. Evoking Henri Matisse and Paul Cezanne, the seemingly straightforward composition of the floral still life ultimately becomes a means for exploring questions of color, form and space. This question of how we see the world, and how that world can be captured in two dimensions, is a concern that Hockney has pursued over six-decades of art-making to this day.

    Hockney's intense occupation with the genre of still-life painting enabled him to focus on the pure act of painting and the pleasure inherent to it. As he once stated, "I think anyone who makes pictures loves it, it is a marvelous thing to dip a brush into paint and make marks on anything" (David Hockney, quoted in Nikos Stangos, ed., David Hockney by David Hockney, London, 1976, p. 28). The breadth and depth of Hockney’s creative endeavors all contribute to this seemingly straightforward, but deeply personal and revelatory, composition. Three Oranges with a Vase is an intimate vignette of a very specific period in the artist’s career, one that rewards a passing glance with immediate beauty and an extended viewing with a wealth of emotive information.

  • 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

Property of a Private British Collector


Three Oranges with a Vase

signed, titled and dated "Three oranges with a vase 1995 David Hockney" on the reverse
oil on canvas, in artist's frame
41 3/4 x 29 1/2 in. (106 x 74.9 cm.)
Painted in 1995.

$1,800,000 - 2,500,000 

Sold for $1,990,000

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 18 May 2017