MyArtBroker Talks: Collecting David Hockney Prints

The Arrival Of Spring In Woldgate East Yorkshire 4th May 2011 © David Hockney | MyArtBrokerThe Arrival Of Spring In Woldgate East Yorkshire 4th May 2011 © David Hockney 2011
Celine Thompson

Celine Thompson, Post Sales Manager[email protected]

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One of the most experimental and prolific English artists working today, David Hockney's career has spanned over 70 years. Hockney made his first etching at the age of 17, and his practice has since developed to encompass lithography, photocopy printing, and even iPad drawings. Charlotte Stewart, Managing Director at MyArtBroker, discusses what's popular in the Hockney market right now, and the best ways to start out as both buyer and seller.

With Celine Fraser, MyArtBroker's Hockney specialist and Junior Broker, we answer your burning questions about the Hockney market, the prints to look out for, and how to prepare your Hockney artworks for sale.

Listen to the complete podcast here:

Q: Charlotte Stewart: In terms of value, how much does a Hockney print usually sell for?

Celine Fraser: Hockney has such a wide breadth of work that you can find pieces at any price point. On the lower end you have posters, which can go for £1,000-2,000. Next you have his photographs, which go for £2,000-5,000 depending on their rarity. Following those you’ll see his etchings, typically those made in the 70s and 80s, which go for around £8,000-20,000.

Q: CS: In Hockney’s portfolio, what has seen the biggest growth in price over the last few years?

CF: His most recent iPad digital prints have gone crazy in the last few years. Untitled No.329, from his A Bigger Book series, sold for around £8,700 when it first went to auction. The most recent hammer price for this piece was £30,000, so in five years we’ve already seen huge growth.

Q: CS: How well have Hockney's iPad drawings been received?

CF: When they were initially released, they weren’t received as well as they are now. In part, this is because people maybe didn’t understand why he would use a digital medium to create a piece of art. They weren’t considered ‘real art’, like his paintings. But Hockney has always been experimental. Now the digital drawings have come to represent a time and place in his career and art history.

Q: CS: Are there other genres in his print portfolio which have seen a similar sort of growth to the iPad drawings?

CF: Any Hockney collector or enthusiast will know that Phillips had a huge sale this past September. In the sale, we saw a collage piece titled Celia Making Tea which was estimated to achieve £10,000-15,000. The work was reported to have sold for £30,000. Hockney’s collages have been getting a lot more praise.

Q: CS: Which of Hockney’s works to you see standing the test of time? In your opinion, what are the key works to aim for as a collector?

CF: In terms of his earlier works, the Paper Pools series is always going to be special because his pools are his most iconic subject. You can’t go wrong with a beautiful blue swimming pool by Hockney.

For his later works, I think The Yosemite Suite is a very interesting series to keep an eye out for. It’s a small edition size and there are several eye-catching works to acquire. Also, the price point isn’t yet at the same level as Arrival Of Spring. Specifically, The Yosemite Suite 1 because it’s so bright and colourful, which is what makes Hockney’s work attractive.

Q: CS: As both a buyer and a seller, what are the condition issues we need to be aware of?

CF: With Hockney, age is obviously a huge factor, as is coloration. If the work has been exposed to light over time, those bright colours can fade and become dull. It’s so sad. Another thing to really look out for is the corners, which can sometimes be neglected or even clipped. These are things that can sometimes be mended with restoration, they don’t mean the piece is unsellable.

Q: CS: How is authenticity in the Hockney market? Does this hot new market have as many problems as the Banksy and Warhol markets?

CF: I would honestly say Hockney doesn’t have those issues. Maybe it’s because his market was ignored for so long, but I see practically no fakes. Sometimes you see works with interesting provenance and question it, but that’s about it. Plus, Hockney himself is still quite active and the David Hockney Foundation will check works for you if in doubt.

Q: CS: Hockney has been so prolific over several decades. If a collector is interested in a particular theme in his work, how can they explore outside a single series?

CF: One of the best examples of this is his Celia Birtwell works, who he has depicted in etchings, abstract works, and collages. If you wanted to just collect Celia works, you can. You can do the same with his Chairs. You can trace Hockney's entire life through his art, and by collecting a specific theme or subject you can see the development in his life and art practice alike.

Q: CS: What do you expect from the Hockney market in 2023? What is next for Hockney?

CF: I think that his works are going to keep going up in value. We saw with the Phillips auction that his works are incredibly popular, more than other markets which haven’t fared so well in this economy.

In terms of our collectors, we are seeing a lot more interest in Hockney’s abstract works. They’re a little different from his other works, and at a lower price point. So, if you are starting out as a collector, these are a great place to start.

Q: CS: Do we have any Hockney’s for sale at the moment that have particularly caught your eye?

CF: That’s a really tough question. However, because of its entry point in the market and the popularity of the iPad drawings at the moment, I’d have to say Untitled No.516 from his A Bigger Book series.

Q: CS: Finally, if you could own anything from Hockney’s portfolio, what would it be and why?

CF: I would take The Steering Wheel. It’s always been my dream to do a road trip across America, so this work has always moved me. The work feels fun, and that’s what I think Hockney is all about.

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