This year, Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening sale set to take place at Hong Kong, will be led by David Hockney’s ’30 Sunflowers’ still-life piece. Belonging to a series of 25 flower paintings that the British artist created back in 1966, there are currently only two in the grand scale that ’30 Sunflowers’ occupies.
A little bit of history to kick thigs off. Hockney’s passion for flower life arose during the summer of 1995, after he visited an exhibition dedicated to Dutch Baroque master Johannes Vermeer at the Mauritshuis in The Hague.
“It was absolutely thrilling. I was amazed. After 350 years the color is still so vibrant… It got me thinking about the fugitive nature of color unless you treat it physically correctly,” he once said of this retrospective, which prompted Hockney to reproduce Vermeer’s techniques in his own flower paintings.
Despite its Van Gogh-inspired vibrant palette, “30 Sunflowers” was executed at a time when the British painter was coping with the passing of his great friend and champion Henry Geldzahler, as well as of his close friend and fellow artist Sandra Fisher.
“I have always painted flowers for friends who were ill,” Hockney said of his series of flower paintings.
Next April, “30 Sunflowers” will go under the hammer for the first time since 2011, when it fetched a modest $2.5 million at Phillips sale in New York.
As the first masterpiece by Hockney to appear at auction in Asia, “30 Sunflowers” is rumored to be capable of fetching in the region of HK$80 million (about $10.3 million).
Hockney’s market considerably boomed since the monumental still-life was last offered at auction, with the Yorkshire-born artist realizing half of his top prices in the last five years.
Hockney notably made headlines in November 2018 when his famed “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” fetched $90.3 million at Christie’s New York.
At the time, he momentarily became the most expensive living artist, before being dethroned a few months later by Jeff Koons with the $91.1 million sale of his “Rabbit.”
In addition to leading Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening sale in Hong Kong, Hockney will also be the star of the house’s upcoming London sale on February 11.
“The Splash,” which is a close sister to “A Bigger Splash,” is estimated to sell for between £20 million and £30 million (around $26 million and $39 million).
Ahead of both auctions, “30 Sunflowers” will go on public view from February 7 to 11 at Sotheby’s London galleries.
The flower painting will then go on tour until April 6, with exhibitions planned in Los Angeles, Jakarta, Taipei and Hong Kong.
To find out more about Sotheby’s Hong Kong, visit sothebys.com.
This story was first published via AFP Relaxnews.