David Hockney’s ‘The Splash’ may sell for £20-30m in London next month

David Hockney, The Splash. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

One of David Hockney’s “most iconic” paintings, The Splash, will star at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening auction in London on February 11. Painted in Los Angeles, the 1966 work is estimated to fetch between £20-30m (without buyer’s premium).

Hockney’s The Splash completes a series of three: A Bigger Splash (1967), which is held in the Tate Modern’s collection and the never-auctioned A Little Splash (1966), which remains in a private collection.

David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash (1967). Courtesy of Tate.

The estimate for The Splash is more than six times the price achieved by the painting when it last went under the hammer in a Sotheby’s London auction in 2006 – at £2.9m – setting a record for the artist at the time.

The record for a work by Hockney has since been reset several times at auction. Most notably, the current record was set at the end of 2018, when his iconic Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) (1972) sold for $90.3m in New York. The buyer on this occasion was Joe Lewis – British businessman and owner of the football team Tottenham Hotspur.   

David Hockney (b. 1937), Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), painted in 1972. Sold for $90.3m in November 2018.

Hockney now has a well-established market for his pool paintings and drawings, commanding $11.3m for his work on paper Piscine De Medianoche (Paper Pool 30) (1978) also in 2018. And more recently, Hockney’s first pool painting, Picture of a Hollywood Swimming Pool from 1964 sold at Sotheby’s New York, in November 2019, for $7.2m.

The Splash will go on view at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, Taipei, New York and London prior to the auction. Francis Bacon, Yves Klein and Wayne Thiebaud are among of the other artists whose works can be expected on February 11.  

Find more works for this auction here.    

Hockney’s Sur la Terrasse (1971) appeared at auction for the first time in November 2019. The work sold for $29.5m at Christie’s auction in New York.