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    Martin Gayford on Nichols Canyon

     

    Martin Gayford is an art critic for The Spectator and the author of several artist biographies. He has sat for portraits by David Hockney, and in 2016, he published A History of Pictures which he co-wrote with the artist. He also wrote A Bigger Message, a volume of conversations with Hockney that was published in 2011.

     

    David Hockney is perhaps the first painter in history to turn driving into an art form. He gets a mention in Alex Ross’s new book Wagnerism for his carefully programmed motorised excursions through the uplands of Southern California, in which each turn and climb in the route was carefully timed to coincide with a crescendo or leitmotif in Tristan or the Ring, played at volume on twelve on-board loudspeakers. And if art and music have got into his personal transport, the reverse is also true: driving and roads have profoundly affected his pictures.

     

    David Hockney and Martin Gayford.
    David Hockney and Martin Gayford.

    The first time I went to stay with Hockney, he told me in advance how to find the long winding street on which his Los Angeles residence is sited. “Tell the taxi driver,” he wrote, it’s “at the top of Nichols Canyon.” This gives a crucial clue to a marvellous painting done in 1980, just after he moved into that home, and taking its title from that same thoroughfare. 

     

    Nichols Canyon is local, a picture of his own neighbourhood. Indeed, it’s more intimately personal than that: this is a depiction of the artist’s daily route to work. When he began to live in the Hollywood Hills, Hockney continued to work on the plain below in his studio in a former warehouse on Santa Monica Boulevard. At the time he made the painting, he was making this journey, Hockney remembered, “two, three, four times a day.” Subsequently he had a large games room adjoining his new dwelling converted into a studio and started to work there. 

     

    David Hockney, Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio, 1980. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Artwork © David Hockney
    David Hockney, Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio, 1980. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Artwork © David Hockney

    For a while though, this short commute was a significant part of his routine, and this picture is a depiction of the journey. Hockney was quite explicit about it. When discussing the companion piece to Nichols Canyon, Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio, he explained that the “Drive” in the title refers not to “the name of the road but to the act of driving.” Both landscapes are depictions of motor-transport, images of moving through a landscape powered by an internal combustion engine.

     

    Of course, this has been one of the most universal of human experiences for the last century at least, yet one of curiously little interest to modernist artists. Even the motor car is a rare subject, though painted for example by Richard Hamilton. But Hockney is almost alone in attempting to convey the experience of driving in visual media.

     

    [left] David Hockney, Garrowby Hill, 1998. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Artwork © David Hockney [right] David Hockney, Flight into Italy – Swiss Landscape, 1962. Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, Artwork © David Hockney
    [left] David Hockney, Garrowby Hill, 1998. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Artwork © David Hockney [right] David Hockney, Flight into Italy – Swiss Landscape, 1962. Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, Artwork © David Hockney

    There have been a succession of “road pictures” (to borrow a term, suitably enough, from movies) through his long career. Others include the early Flight into Italy – Swiss Landscape, 1962, Garrowby Hill, 1988, and the nine camera films made on Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2010-11. Hockney is delighted and enthralled by the experience of moving through a landscape. He suggested, in the case of Nichols Canyon and Mulholland Drive, that the viewer’s eye moves “around the painting at about the same speed as a car drives along the road.”

     

    [left] Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights, 1490-1510 (detail). Museo del Prado, Madrid, [right] Detail of the present lot.  
    [left] Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights, 1490-1510 (detail). Museo del Prado, Madrid, [right] Detail of the present lot.  

    It seems likely that the octagonal red blob in the centre of Nichols Canyon, resembling to a casual glance a giant strawberry by Hieronymus Bosch, actually stands for Hockney’s car of the time: a vintage two-seater, chrome-red Mercedes convertible. If so, it’s at crucial point, near the centre of the picture, swinging round a bend; that curve too is crucial to the experience of the journey, and this to the picture.

     

    Instinctively and aesthetically, Hockney dislikes straight lines, especially when they recede towards a fixed-point of recession. These feelings affect his attitude towards particular places. Several times recently he has referred to New York as a “perspective nightmare” in which he could never live and work. By that he meant that it is a geometric grid of high-rise, rectilinear structures like a 15th century Tuscan city grown gigantically huge.

     

    Manhattan was perfect for Piet Mondrian but impossible for Hockney, who insists he likes “to live on the ground” and to travel along winding curves that never stop in a single, inescapable vanishing-point. He has long been suspicious of that kind of geometric perspective, with all lines receding into the distance like railway tracks, which was codified in the Italian Renaissance by the architect Leon Battista Alberti. That’s why he loves Chinese scrolls, where the eye just carries on moving as the picture is unwound, and also why he took immediately to the Hollywood Hills.

     

    [left] Piet Mondrian, Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942-1943. Museum of Modern Art, New York [right] Detail of the present lot.
    [left] Piet Mondrian, Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942-1943. Museum of Modern Art, New York [right] Detail of the present lot.

    "The roads aren’t straight and you don’t know which one goes down the hill and which one doesn’t." 
    — David Hockney

    Previously, Hockney recalled, although he had spent a good deal of time in LA, he had not ventured up from the coastal plain. In the Hills, “the roads aren’t straight and you don’t know which one goes down the hill and which one doesn’t.” But once he’d made the move, he became “fascinated by all these wiggly lanes and they began to enter the paintings.” He drove along them, and as he did so he “actually felt” them. 

     

    “Wiggly” is a word signifying approval in Hockney’s terms; similarly, his favoured word for his new house and studio, an ancient wood-beamed farmhouse in Normandy, is “higgledy-piggledy.” It is, he muses, “like the house where the Seven Dwarves live in the Disney film.” When he began Nichols Canyon forty years ago, he “took a large canvas and drew a wiggly line done the middle which is what the roads seemed to be.”

     

    The wiggly line therefore is the beginning and essence of the painting: a trajectory through space and time. It is also a point of inflection in Hockney’s career. In the autumn of 1980, when this picture and also Mulholland Drive were painted, he had just had two powerful experiences. One was seeing the great Picasso exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the other was designing the production of a triple bill of modernist French music for the Metropolitan Opera.

     

    The latter consisted of Parade by Eric Satie, Francis Poulenc’s Les mamelles de Tirésias, and Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortilèges. Thinking about these, and the period in which they were composed, made him reflect on what he called, “French Marks.” This was his phrase for the beautiful painterly and graphic calligraphy—the flowing brush and pen strokes which he felt were the hallmark of Parisian masters such as Picasso, Matisse, and Dufy.

     

     

    “You have to have a variety of marks,” he told me. While designing the Ravel opera, he made a number of “French Marks,” created by “letting my arm flow free, exploring ways of bring together French painting and music.” He also explored Fauvist chromatic exuberance in the same designs, and carried it back to his new house in the Hollywood Hills, painting the terrace a Matisse blue. “The painters thought I was quite mad. But when they finished, they saw how good it was.”

     

    Nichols Canyon is full of French marks, and strong Matisse-like reds, greens, and yellows as well as blues. It’s an expression of excitement in the discovery of new place and a fresh way of painting and depicting space. It is also, Hockney points out, “more realistic than you might think.” Not only does it convey the feeling of winding up, down and around on the roads of the Hollywood Hills; its Fauvism is almost naturalistic. 

     

    [left] Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights, 1490-1510 (detail). Museo del Prado, Madrid, [right] Detail of the present lot.  
    [left] Vincent van Gogh, Landscape with Carriage and Train, 1890. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Photo credit: SCALA / Art Resource, NY [right] Henri Matisse, Landscape at Collioure, 1905. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2020 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

    This area is rus in urbe, countryside within a great city. The vegetation of the canyon bottom is lush: there are places that resemble rain forest. That’s part of Hockney’s message too. He is an artist who finds “the world is very, very beautiful.” Indeed, he is in love with it. But, as he also likes to point out, “reality is a slippery thing.” There are many ways to represent it. One may be a wiggly line, freely brushed down a canvas.

     

    Introduction

     

    Depicting the winding titular road in Los Angeles, Nichols Canyon is one of David Hockney’s greatest masterpieces—and unequivocally the most important landscape by the artist in private hands. Executed in a pivotal year in the artist’s career, 1980, the tour de force is considered by contemporary scholarship to be Hockney’s first mature landscape, and has been exhibited as such in both of his major travelling retrospectives. Nichols Canyon is one of his most recognizable paintings, having graced the cover of the 1994 monograph David Hockney and was reproduced on the poster for the Metropolitan Museum leg of his retrospective in 1988.

     

    What makes the image so iconic is its fusion of two of Hockney’s themes that have appeared and reappeared time and again throughout his entire career: the natural world and the theater. One of the most refined paintings from a very small body of work depicting the Los Angeles terrain—other examples of which are in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and Museum Ludwig, Cologne—Nichols Canyon marks the beginning of his decades-long panoramic landscapes series spanning California, the Grand Canyon, and the United Kingdom.

     

    [left] The present lot installed in David Hockney, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, November 17, 2017 – February 25, 2018. Artwork © David Hockney [right] The present lot installed in David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, The Royal Academy of Arts, London, January 21 - April 9, 2012. Artwork © David Hockney
    [left] The present lot installed in David Hockney, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, November 17, 2017 – February 25, 2018. Artwork © David Hockney [right] The present lot installed in David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, The Royal Academy of Arts, London, January 21 - April 9, 2012. Artwork © David Hockney

    In fact, at first, Hockney was exceptionally pleased with the composition and had decided to keep this homage to his idol for himself; he only agreed to part with it when André Emmerich offered to buy him a late Picasso that he had fallen in love with at Claude Bernard’s Gallery in Paris in exchange for Nichols Canyon and another of Hockney’s paintings, The Conversation, 1980. The present owner purchased the work from Emmerich in January 1982, and it has not changed hands since—exceptionally rare provenance for a work of this caliber.

     

    A Love Affair With Los Angeles

     

    One of the artist’s most iconic subjects, the Los Angeles lifestyle and landscape enthralled Hockney since his first trip to California in January 1964. Upon arriving, he sent a telegram to his friend proclaiming “Venice California more beautiful than Venice Italy.”i He was attracted to the swimming pools, the warm climate, as well as to the glitz and glamor of the L.A. that he had seen in films, magazines, and John Rechy novels throughout his life—he had fantasized about California, idealized it as an Eden of sunshine and palm trees straight out of an Henri Matisse painting, and upon arrival believed that his daydreams had come true.

     

    Over the next 15 years, Hockney lived off and on in California, playing heavily into the cultural iconography of Los Angeles in his most celebrated works, such as Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1972 and A Bigger Splash, 1967, Tate, London. In 1978 he decided to make the city his permanent home, and the following year he moved into a secluded residence in the Hollywood Hills with partner Gregory Evans.

     

    [left] David Hockney, Portrait of an Artist ( Pool with Two Figures), 1972. Artwork © David Hockney [right] David Hockney, A Bigger Splash, 1967. Tate Gallery, London, Photo credit © Tate, London / Art Resource, NY, Artwork © David Hockney
    [left] David Hockney, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1972. Artwork © David Hockney [right] David Hockney, A Bigger Splash, 1967. Tate Gallery, London, Photo credit © Tate, London / Art Resource, NY, Artwork © David Hockney

    "I came back here in 1978 and I wanted to paint L.A. a bit differently—I wanted a fresher look at it…It took me two years to find it." 
    — David Hockney

    In the fall of 1980, after spending months in New York, Hockney again returned to Los Angeles, approaching landscape painting with fresh vigor and inspiration from the city’s mixed urban and natural environs that he experienced from his new home in the hills. Every day while passing the sloping L.A. neighborhood Nichols Canyon on the drive to his studio on Santa Monica Boulevard, he was awestruck by the wild, winding setting that surrounded him. “The moment you live up here, you get a different view of Los Angeles. First of all these wiggly lines seem to enter your life, and they entered the paintings,” Hockney expressed.

     

    David Hockney photographed with his Mercedes-Benz.

    After completing Nichols Canyon in September, Hockney executed its companion painting Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in October, which captured another view from his daily drive. The two masterpieces are undeniably a product of their setting: in subject, composition, dynamism—and even color. As the viewer’s trace Nichols Canyon Road, the sensation of driving—a quintessential activity so synonymous with Los Angeles—is evoked. In Nichols Canyon, Hockney succinctly captures the altitude and winding movement of an entire drive into a single monumental work, allowing us to experience California by car with him. 

     

    "I took a large canvas and drew a wiggly line down the middle which is what the roads seem to be. I was living up the hills and painting in my studio down the hills, so I was traveling back and forth every day, often two, three, four times a day. I actually felt those wiggly lines." 
    — David Hockney

    Hockney’s love affair with L.A. has continued to the present day. He still resides in California and his name is inextricably tied to the city he would passionately articulate for decades. In this sense, his aspiration of becoming L.A.’s Piranesi was realized: Nichols Canyon and Mulholland Drive are undoubtedly two of the most iconic depictions of the Los Angeles landscape.

     

    A New Spirit in Painting

    "[This 1981 exhibition] changed the art world." 
    — Norman Rosenthal, curator of A New Spirit in Painting

    When Hockney returned to Los Angeles in the autumn of 1980, he also returned to painting. Ever eager to explore diverse material and media, he had taken periodic hiatuses throughout the 1970s to pursue photography, but in September 1980, he resolved to approach landscape painting anew.

     

    Four of Hockney’s paintings that reflect this return in enthusiasm for his most iconic medium—including Nichols Canyon and Mulholland Drive—were included in the landmark exhibition A New Spirit in Painting at the Royal Academy in London in 1981. “The artists’ studios are full of paint pots again and an abandoned easel in an art school has become a rare sight,” one of the show’s curators, Christos M. Joachimides, proclaimed in the accompanying catalogue essay.

     

    Following two decades of an art world dominated by conceptual art and minimalism, A New Spirit in Painting attempted to chart the revival of expressionist painting and figuration 14 years after Ad Reinhardt declared he was creating “the last paintings which anyone can make”—and during a time when the very relevance of subjectivity was in question. ii  The exhibition united Hockney with established masters such as Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, and Willem de Kooning as well as with artists who were less well known at the time, such as Gerhard Richter and Francesco Clemente. Challenging Clement Greenberg’s modernist theory, it was a radical manifesto: the development of art history was not linear, Minimalism was not the culmination of art history, and painting itself was not anachronistic but a fresh start.


    Nearly 40 years later, A New Spirit in Painting is more topical than ever, and is frequently used as a touchpoint to re-examine and re-contextualize the recent rise of figurative painting produced by emerging artists working today. Norman Rosenthal, a curator of the original exhibition, arranged the follow-up exhibition A New Spirit Then, A New Spirit Now, 1981-2018 at Almine Rech Gallery; this year, the Whitechapel Gallery in London hosted the show Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium, a large-scale homage to the 1981 survey that included some of today’s leading painters, such as Cecily Brown, Christina Quarles, and Dana Schutz. 

     

    Nichols Canyon thus captures a specific moment not only in Hockney’s career but in 20th century art history. The first work he executed after deciding to pick his paint brushes back up in L.A. in 1980, it also reflects a pivotal moment during an international return to the medium—one that still resonates across the art world today.

  • Hockney and the Theatrical Landscape

     

    Nichols Canyon was painted in the autumn of a year that Hockney spent for the most part designing Parade, a triple bill at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. This contemporaneous preoccupation with both landscape and stage design is palpable in Nichols Canyon, a winding environment bursting with vibrant hues reminiscent of his work for the theater. In fact, certain elements appear almost as thespian props; the flatness of the hills and blocks of orange, green, cerulean, and lavender evoke a stage backdrop. Its theatricality foreshadows further masterpieces that he would execute dealing with the Californian landscape and lifestyle later in the decade, such as A Visit with Christopher and Don, Santa Monica Canyon, 1984, Museum Ludwig, Cologne and Large Interior, Los Angeles, 1988, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, which feature equally as dramatic compositions interrogating spatial depth.

     

    Also evoking the Post-Impressionists and the Fauvists, Nichols Canyon captures the brilliant sunshine, changing light, and promise of the natural world. The most conspicuous visual kinship Nicolas Canyon has, of course, is with the bold palette and expressive, painterly mode of the Fauvists, evocative of Matisse’s Landscape at Collioure, 1905, Museum of Modern Art, New York; it is impossible to not read Hockney during this period as “a direct heir of Matisse’s Fauvism, pushing color contrasts to trippy and hedonistic extremes.”iii

    "[Hockney is] a direct heir of Matisse’s Fauvism, pushing color contrasts to trippy and hedonistic extremes." 
    — Deborah Solomon, The New York Times

    In Dialogue: Pablo Picasso

     

    Pablo Picasso’s Artist and Model, 1965 photographed in David Hockney’s Hollywood home, 1983. Photograph by Mary E. Nichols. Artwork © 2020 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

    "It’s like the National Gallery all painted by one man [Picasso]… No artist ever left such incredible evidence of his experience before; it’s like Rembrandt, Piero, Van Gogh, and Degas all in one."
    — David Hockney

    Though Nichols Canyon is both uniquely biographical as well as the clear product of a greater artistic shift during the period in which it was made, it also reflects Hockney’s deep engagement with art history—specifically European modernism, with which the work has a conspicuous formal affinity. 

     

    Pablo Picasso has been one of David Hockney’s greatest inspirations throughout his entire oeuvre. Perhaps the most critical lesson he learned from this formidable influence was to never feel confined to a single approach but to ceaselessly reinvent and push boundaries, accounting for the diversity of styles that Hockney has adopted throughout his career.

     

    [left] Pablo Picasso, House in a Garden (La Rue des Bois), 1908. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Photo credit: Scala / Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2020 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York [right] [right] Pablo Picasso, Paysage à Mougins, 1962-1963. Private Collection, Artwork © 2020 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    [left] Pablo Picasso, House in a Garden (La Rue des Bois), 1908. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Photo credit: Scala / Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2020 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York [right] Pablo Picasso, Paysage à Mougins, 1962-1963. Private Collection, Artwork © 2020 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

    The artist’s fervent admiration for Picasso was reignited just months before he executed Nichols Canyon, when he visited two of his exhibitions in 1980: Picasso from the Musée Picasso hosted by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and his retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. “I still had things to do for Parade”—the triple bill he was in the process of designing for the Metropolitan Opera in New York—“but the exhibition affected me so much I thought, God, if you want to paint, just paint,” Hockney conveyed.iv

     

    These exhibitions reminded Hockney of both the dynamism and vibrancy of Picasso’s late works—he was particularly a fan of his predecessor’s 1960s paintings—but also of the pictorial radicalism that Cubism offered and how irrevocably the movement altered art history and visual representation. These innovations were on Hockney’s mind when he executed Nichols Canyon, which captured his entire commute in one painting emphasizing flatness just as Cubism aggregated all perspectives in a single image. 

     

    Executed during a time that painting had been eclipsed by other artistic avenues—both for Hockney as well as the larger art world—Nichols Canyon reminds us of what the medium has to offer. By reimagining and reinventing modernism with a fresh approach, the work is a grand recollection of painting’s past—and a look into how it can be used in the contemporary era.

     

    Nichols Canyon: A Legacy

    "Nichols Canyon and Mulholland Drive [Los Angeles County Museum of Art] are essential markers in his reinvention of himself as a landscape painter." 
    — Marco Livingstone

    Marking a critical point in the artist’s trajectory, Nichols Canyon iniated the renowned panoramic landscape series that has taken Hockney across the United States and the United Kingdom over the last four decades. “The pictorial shorthand that he devised for that heart-stopping experience of driving up and down Nichols Canyon was to prove decisive in shaping his notion of travelling through a landscape,” according to art historian Marco Livingstone, “and of reconstructing it through a succession of signposts lodged in his mind, that again became a vital constituent of his landscapes when he first painted Yorkshire in 1997.”v This chapter presaged Hockney’s 1990s paintings of the L.A. environment, such as Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica, his decade of portrayals of the rolling hills for Yorkshire, as well as his recent iPad drawings of California—which he continues to execute today.

  • David Hockney on the Road

    • Provenance

      The Artist
      André Emmerich Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in January 1982

    • Exhibited

      London, Royal Academy of Arts, A New Spirit in Painting, January 15 - March 18, 1981, no. 55. p. 219 (illustrated, n.p.)
      Minneapolis, Walker Art Center; Mexico City, Museo Tamayo; Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art; The Fort Worth Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Art, Hockney Paints the Stage, November 20, 1983 - May 26, 1985, p. 55 (illustrated, p. 54)
      Los Angeles County Museum of Art; New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; London, Tate Gallery, David Hockney: A Retrospective, February 4, 1988 - January 3, 1989, no. 73, p. 255 (illustrated, p. 205)
      Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts; Madrid, Fundación Juan March; Barcelona, Palau de la Virreina, David Hockney, June 13, 1992 - February 28, 1993, no. 37, pp. 25, 107 [p. 109, Brussels], (illustrated, p. 10)
      Paris, Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, David Hockney: Espace/Paysage, January 27 - April 26, 1999, pp. 32-33, 37, 69, 104, 106, 124, 191 (illustrated, p. 107)
      Humlebæk, Louisiana Museum of Art, David Hockney, October 12, 2001 - January 27, 2002, no. 30, p. 87 (illustrated, p. 53)
      London, Royal Academy of Arts; Bilbao, Guggenheim Museum; Cologne, Museum Ludwig, David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, January 21, 2012 - February 4, 2013, no. 8, p. 34 (illustrated, p. 78; detail illustrated, n.p.)
      London, Tate Britain; Paris, Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou (p. 318; illustrated, p. 197); New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, David Hockney, February 9, 2017 - February 25, 2018, pp. 145-146, 161, 268 (illustrated, pp. 143, 150-151)

    • Literature

      James Fitzsimmons, ed., Art International, vol. 24, March - April 1981, p. 107 (illustrated)
      Edward Lucie-Smith, Lives of the Great 20th Century Artists, London, 1986, p. 334 (illustrated, p. 335)
      Peter Webb, Portrait of David Hockney, London, 1988, p. 200
      Stefan Szczesny, Maler über Malerei: Einblicke, Ausblicke : Künstlerschriften zur Malerei der Gegenwart, Cologne, 1989, p. 194 (illustrated, p. 195)
      Nikos Stangos, David Hockney: That’s The Way I See It, London, 1993, pp. 68-69 (illustrated, p. 67)
      Paul Melia and Ulrich Luckhardt, David Hockney, Munich and New York, 1994, pl. 42, pp. 122, 134, 136, 195 (illustrated, p. 137; detail illustrated p. 118 and on the cover)
      Marco Livingstone, David Hockney, New York, 1996, pp. 204, 207-208, 225-226 (illustrated, p. 172)
      Gregory Evans and David Graves, Hockney’s Pictures, New York, 2004, p. 366 (illustrated, p. 306)

    • 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. 

      View More Works

Property of a Distinguished American Collector

Ο ◆10

Nichols Canyon

acrylic on canvas
84 x 60 in. (213.4 x 152.4 cm)
Painted in 1980.

This work has been requested for inclusion in the artist’s forthcoming exhibition David Hockney in Perspective organized by The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, to be held from June 11 - October 10, 2021.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate On Request

Sold for $41,067,500

Contact Specialist

Amanda Lo Iacono
Head of Auctions
New York
+1 212 940 1278

[email protected] 


 

20th c. & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 7 December 2020