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  • David Hockney’s House Palm and Pool, two paintings on paper from 1982, exude the California Cool that the artist is so renowned for. Created soon after the artist bought his Hollywood Hills house, each presents a subtly different vignette of the artist’s lush backyard, rendered with the vibrant color and distilled lines that call Henri Matisse to mind. These works capture Hockney’s love affair with the city of Los Angeles, best epitomized in the subject matter of the swimming pool ever since his first visit in the 1960s. Ten years after completing the iconic painting Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1972, Hockney continued to be fascinated with the motif, returning to it to revel in the immediacy of painting with three large-scale gouaches on paper titled House Palm and Pool, two of which Phillips is delighted to be offering.

     

    David Hockney’s backyard, pictured in Architectural Digest, April 1, 1983.
    David Hockney’s backyard, pictured in Architectural Digest, April 1, 1983.

    "As I flew over San Bernardino and saw the swimming pools and the houses and everything and the sun, I was more thrilled than I have ever been in arriving in any city."
    —David Hockney

    As much as these works represent a continuation of Hockney’s early work, they also mark the important inflection point ushered in by his purchase of his Hollywood Hills home which would become a favored subject across the decades, as evidenced in such recent paintings as A Bigger Interior With Blue Terrace and Garden, 2017. With these works, Hockney presents us with intimate snapshots of the calm, yet vibrantly painted, sanctuary he was able to build in the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles.

     

    Hockney’s discrete House Palm and Pool series consists of just three large-scale gouaches, each presenting a similar view of Hockney’s property captured by the artist from a slightly elevated position en plein air on his terrace. In each work, Hockney distills the architecture, landscaping and colors through a remarkably economy of line and color: broad brushstrokes give form to the cobalt-blue slats of his terrace; blue squiggles capture the pool sparkling under the California light. Like Paul Cézanne’s repeated renderings of Mont Sainte-Victoire, Hockney in this way creates masterful studies of form, color, and perspective.

    "[Hockney is] a direct heir of Matisse’s Fauvism, pushing color contrasts to trippy and hedonistic extremes."
    —Deborah Solomon
    These two works powerfully exemplify Hockney’s interrogation of different modes of seeing and are closely related to his concurrent photographic practice. Viewed in tandem with Hockney’s composite Polaroid works of his property, they reflect Hockney’s ambition of making and viewing pictures more faithfully committed to the actual phenomena of seeing – thereby challenging the fixed viewpoint of the camera, and the Renaissance tradition of linear perspective more broadly. House Palm and Pool brilliantly captures our everyday experience of seeing, where the eye wanders and the body shifts, gaining different vantages of the same scene from one moment to the next.  
     

    David Hockney, Interior with Blue Terrace and Garden, 2017.
    David Hockney, Interior with Blue Terrace and Garden, 2017. 
    • Provenance

      André Emmerich Gallery, New York
      Robin Quist Gates, California
      Thence by descent from the above to the present owner

    • Literature

      Peter Webb, Portrait of David Hockney, London, 1988, p. 201

    • Artist Biography

      David Hockney

      British • 1937

      With a career stretching from the early 1960s to the present, David Hockney is perhaps best known for his bright, cheerful works depicting pools and other everyday scenes from his life in southern California. Originally from West Yorkshire, England, Hockney studied at the Royal College of Art in London before spending decades on both sides of the Atlantic. The artist got his start as part of the British Pop movement, though he’s also cited Modern masters like Picasso and Matisse as major influences on his unique style. 

      Having worked in mediums such as painting, photography, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and more, Hockney is among the most versatile artists of his time. Drawing on his lived experience, Hockney imparts obvious references to same-sex love and companionship in his work, a motif that began even before Britain decriminalized homosexuality in 1967. His work in present in the collections of institutions such as MoMA, the Pompidou and the Tate, which granted him a blockbuster career retrospective in 2017. At present, Hockney is one of the most expensive living artists to be sold at auction. 

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Property from the Collection of Robin Quist Gates

178

House Palm and Pool

signed with artist's initials and dated "DH. '82" lower center
gouache on paper
22 1/2 x 30 1/4 in. (57.2 x 76.8 cm)
Executed in 1982.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $937,500

Contact Specialist

John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 24 June 2021