The Investment Guide To David Hockney

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Jasper Tordoff

Jasper Tordoff, Specialist[email protected]

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David Hockney

David Hockney

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David Hockney, the visionary whose vibrant canvases burst with colour, has devoted a lifetime to immersing us in a world where imagination knows no bounds. Through each brushstroke, pencil sketch, etching, or pen stroke, he skillfully creates landscapes and portraits brimming with joy, capturing the essence of fleeting moments and transforming them into timeless masterpieces. His art pays hommage to life's exuberance, celebrates intimacy, and is a testament to his unwavering creativity. Hockney's continued success in the art market underscores the investment value of his prints.

In this investment report, we examine Hockney's print market performance spanning the past seven years. Leveraging auction and sales data from our dedicated database focused on prints and editions, our objective is to provide valuable insights to help you determine whether investing in Hockney is a wise decision for 2024.

David Hockney Seven Year Print Market Performance

Hockney Sales Value And Lots Sold 2017 - 2023 - MyArtBroker 2024 Hockney Sales Value And Lots Sold 2017 - 2023 © MyArtBroker 2024

Is Buying A Hockney Print A Good Investment?

Typically, when an artist's paintings do well in the broader market, a similar trend is reflected in the print market. This pattern is evident in Hockney's case, where his most valuable paintings to hit the market sold within the past seven years. Similarly, Hockney's print market performance remains robust, with increases in both sales value and the number of lots sold. Illustrated in the chart above, only minor fluctuations occurred from 2017 to 2019, with the sales value and the number of lots sold differing by no more than 13% year-on-year (YoY).

In 2020, Hockney's print market experienced significant growth. This upward trend continued into 2021 and 2022, culminating in record-breaking results in 2023.

Hockney 2023 Print Market Values

Hockney Print Market Values 2023 by MyArtBroker 2024Hockney Print Market Values 2023 © MyArtBroker 2024

What Happened In Hockney's Print Market Performance In 2023?

Hockney's print market performance peaked in 2023, achieving a seven-year high despite the macroeconomic challenges that characterised the year. It witnessed a 21% increase in sales value and a 50% rise in lots sold, resulting in a total of £10.5 million (hammer) in print sales and 490 lots sold. The average selling price (ASP) in 2023 was £21,510 for an individual print.

Hockney Average Selling Price

Hockney Average Selling Price 2017 - 2023 by MyArtBroker 2024Hockney Average Selling Price 2017 - 2023 © MyArtBroker 2024

The ASP of Hockney's print market performance over the past seven years offers insights into the consistent demand surrounding his print works. In 2017, the ASP was relatively modest at £10,343. Subsequent years saw gradual increases, with a 4% uptick in 2018 and a more substantial 25% growth in 2019. Despite a minor dip in 2020, likely due to the initial impact of lockdown measures, 2021 witnessed a remarkable surge in the ASP to £19,417, reflecting a 59% increase in perceived value. This upward trend continued into 2022, reaching the highest ASP of the seven-year period.

Despite a -23% YoY decrease in sales value from 2022 to 2023, it's important to note that the actual sales value still showed a positive trend. In the same period, there was a notable 45% increase in the number of lots sold. This surge in sales volume suggests a heightened interest among collectors and increased investment in Hockney prints.

Therefore, the lower ASP in 2023 can be primarily attributed to an increased supply of Hockney's prints rather than a decline in their value. This is further supported by the higher overall sales value and the continued confidence among collectors in Hockney's prints as a reliable investment.

Hockney Most Popular Print Series

Hockney Trending Print Series: Sales Value x Lots Sold In 2023 by MyArtBroker 2024Hockney Trending Print Series: Sales Value x Lots Sold In 2023 © MyArtBroker 2024

Top Performing Print Series In Hockney's 2023 Print Market

Hockney's most popular series, characterised by a significant number of lots sold and high sales value, revolves around his iconic Swimming Pools. The highest-ranking print series in terms of sales value for 2023 were The Arrival Of Spring. While prints belonging to this series achieved the highest sales value, surpassing £2 million (hammer), they were not as prevalent in terms of lots sold. During MyArtBroker's latest live panel discussion featuring our sales team experts, Jasper Tordoff, our Hockney specialist, discussed Hockney's extensive experimentation across various mediums throughout his career shedding light on the supply and demand dynamics surrounding the digital iPad works and their current appeal in the market.

“Looking at the Yosemite Suite and The Arrival of Spring, these are works that you could have picked up directly from the publishers for around £40,000, and now, the market has gone crazy for them. It's amazing to see how upon release, the digital drawings didn't have such an impact on the market.”
Jasper Tordoff

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However, while The Arrival Of Spring and the Swimming Pools series excel in terms of sales value, there are other series that stand out by the number of lots sold. These alternative series provide more affordable options for those considering investing in Hockney prints that are more available within the market.

In 2023, Hockney's Celia Birtwell portraits enjoyed significant success, claiming the top spot in terms of lots sold. Celia Birtwell, celebrated for her expertise in textile design, role as a muse, and intimate friendship with Hockney, profoundly shaped his artistic expression. Her influence is evident in the meticulous attention to detail in the textiles adorning his subjects and the vibrant palette he employs.

Additionally,Hockney's Portraits garnered substantial attention in terms of lots sold, underscoring their widespread availability in the market. This series comprises diverse print mediums featuring portraits of Hockney's acquaintances, romantic partners, and collaborators. The surge in interest for these works, including the Celia portraits, can be attributed to Hockney's exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Drawing From Life, where a significant selection of these portraits was prominently showcased.


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The Most In-Demand Hockney Prints Within Our Network

As highlighted in our recent panel discussion with sales experts, the resounding success of million-dollar sales and widespread media coverage of blue chip artists invariably cascades down to impact the print market. The triumph of Hockney's iconic series, such as The Arrival of Spring and Swimming Pools, in public auctions underscores this trend. Hockney's enduring creativity, coupled with his ubiquitous presence in exhibitions and digital installations, has ensured his continuous dominance on our live trading floor throughout 2023, with prospects for sustained momentum into 2024.

Currently trending on our platform are individual works spanning various epochs of Hockney's illustrious career. Collectors are drawn to pieces from Hockney's early period, such as Illustrations For Six Fairy Tales From The Brothers Grimm (1969), offering accessible entry points to art collecting. Similarly, prints from The Weather Series (1973), garnered significant attention in 2023 auctions, including a rare complete set in October. With heightened public awareness stemming from auction events, the demand for individual prints remains evident on our trading floor.

Furthermore, Hockney's groundbreaking iPad works, exemplifying his mastery of contemporary media in our technology-driven era, including Flowers, The Arrival of Spring, and Yosemite Suite pieces, continue to see robust popularity on our platform, mirroring their appeal in the broader art market.

“Hockney was doing lithographs in the early '50s and '60s. Then you come onto stronger works when he moved to California and developed different techniques. And then you come across the iPads. There are new works always being done.”
Jasper Tordoff

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Comparative Blue Chip Market Performance

Average Selling Price 2017 - 2023 By MyArtBroker Average Selling Price 2017 - 2023 © MyArtBroker

Seven Blue Chip Artists Markets To Know

In the chart provided above, we have conducted a benchmark analysis of Hockney's ASP in the print market against that of other blue chip artists who have consistently performed well in the same market segment during the corresponding time frame.

While Hockney's ASP may appear lower than others, it demonstrates consistent growth over three consecutive years, spanning from 2020 to 2022, with minimal fluctuation observed in 2023. Moreover, Hockney's impressive print volume, particularly evident in the 490 lots sold in 2023, surpasses that of many other artists. This high volume indicates a broader accessibility of his works and an increased demand among a diverse range of collectors.

Hockney Print Market Price Distribution

Hockney Price Distribution by Lots Sold - MyArtBroker 2024Hockney Price Distribution by Lots Sold © MyArtBroker 2024

Where to Start When Looking to Buy A Hockney Print?

In 2023, Hockney's print pricing structure revealed that only a small segment, comprising 3%, exceeded the £100,000 threshold. This elite category saw the sale of three complete sets: Dog Wall, showcasing Hockney's cherished Dashunds, A Rake's Progress, and The Weather Series. These sets, rare in the market, set records in 2023. For comprehensive pricing insights, read our April and October auction reports.

Individual prints from Hockney's coveted series, such as The Arrival of Spring, Swimming Pools, The Yosemite Suite, and Moving Focus, also breached the £100,000 in 2023, including Amaryllis In Vase. Although a larger portion of Hockney's market, constituting 8%, comprises prints priced between £50,000 and £100,000 and individual works from the same trending series can often be found in this lower price range.

Print works priced between £20,000 and £50,000, accounting for 17% of lots sold in 2023, provide relatively more accessible opportunities for collectors. This category includes prints from various series like Digital Drawings, Flowers, The Blue Guitar, and Interiors and Exteriors. Even Hockney's acclaimed Pool Made With Paper And Blue Ink For Book fell within this range seven times in 2023, although primarily due to market saturation.

Pricing dynamics are influenced by collector preferences, rarity, and market fluctuations, which is why it is always adviseable to speak with experts. MyArtBroker's Value Indicator can help, and offers real-time market insights.

Explore our latest Case Study to learn how art market traders leverage this tool.

Ten Most Affordable Hockney Prints In 2023 - MyArtBroker 2024Ten Most Affordable Hockney Prints In 2023 © MyArtBroker 2024

Hockney Prints to Invest in Below £20,000

In 2023, the majority of Hockney’s print market, accounting for 71% of the total, featured works priced below £20,000. Within this more accessible price range, collectors can discover significant pieces that span various phases of Hockney’s career. The Celia Birtwell lithographs, predominantly created from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, highlight Hockney’s mastery of new mediums and offer an intimate portrayal of one of his closest friends and muses. These works gained popularity in public auctions following the delayed opening of Hockney's exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 2023, which was initially postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Hockney’s A Hollywood Collection, featuring works from the mid-1960s, also provides affordable options for collectors interested in works priced below £20,000. This series holds the potential for value appreciation, as evidenced by the complete set's sale for £33,258 with fees in October 2023.

“Hockney's work from the 1960s was a time when he was experimenting an awful lot with lithographs and etchings. I find these amazing. The attention to detail, and seeing the artworks in the flesh, allows you to observe where the plate has been pressed into the paper.”
Jasper Tordoff

Hockney’s Abstractions series from the 1990s represents a crucial period in his artistic development, making these works valuable additions to art collections and portfolios. Hockney's Chairs series offers a mix of affordable opportunities as well. Panama Hat On A Chair With Jacket, for instance, achieved a hammer price just under £20,000 in October 2023, while other pieces from this series sold for approximately £5,000.

Another noteworthy addition to art collections is Hockney's Illustrations for Six Fairy Tales From The Brothers Grimm. Works within this series are listed above as Hockney's most affordable print works in 2023 including: To Remain, A Room Full Of Straw, and Catherina Dorothea Viehmann.

Given the scarcity of complete sets within this collection, individual prints present appealing investment opportunities. Collectors seeking to complete their sets may actively seek these individual prints, potentially leading to increased demand and higher prices. These prints are also widely available on the private market and were showcased in number at the 2024 London Art Fair. Additionally, there are other attractive and affordable print options available from rare complete sets, including Hockney's The Blue Guitar, which draws inspiration from Pablo Picasso.

Hockney Top Ten Print Sales In 2023 © MyArtBroker 2024Hockney Top Ten Print Sales In 2023 By MyArtBroker 2024

The Prints Most In Demand Hockney Prints from Investors

Although specific artworks from some of Hockney's lesser-known series may attract investors, it's undeniable that his Swimming Pools series consistently enjoys strong demand and remains closely associated with the British artist. The motif of the swimming pool serves as a symbol of Hockney's experiences and inspirations during his time in Los Angeles in the 1960s.

Other timeless masterpieces that appeal to wide audiences are Hockney's Dog etchings showcasing his cherished dachshunds, Stanley and Boodgie. These works are poised to hold their value as pets tend to have a broad appeal. In January 2023, the complete set of Hockney's Dogs series set a record selling for £327,600.

And of course, the most popular Hockney print series by investor interest is The Arrival of Spring and Yosemite Suite series. Each series comprises just 25 prints, making them relatively rare and highly sought-after additions to Hockney's print market. To date, a complete set from either series has yet to surface. However, when such a notable event eventually happens, it is likely to capture widespread attention and set unprecedented record prices.

Listen to MyArtBroker Talks Podcast with Charlotte Stewart and Jasper Tordoff, David Hockney: Investing In Prints & What's Next For The Artist's Market

Liquidity of Hockney’s Artwork

When assessing the marketability of Hockney's artworks, it's wise to focus on pieces with relatable imagery, as this often translates to their liquidity and potential for profitable sales, regardless of location. Notably, the most liquid artworks tend to coincide with the most sought-after ones: The Arrival of Spring, Swimming Pools, Dogs, and complete sets, as the imagery within these works carries a universal appeal.

Interestingly, in 2023, there was a notable surge in demand for one of Hockney's lesser-known 1970s series, The Weather Series, particularly the work titled Rain. Although this series is less recognised, the close depiction of turquoise water associates it with Hockney's Swimming Pools. For collectors seeking that strong connection between Hockney and water, this specific work presented an attractive option. Therefore, it's not surprising that it recently sold for £107,100 with fees, representing a 2.6-fold increase in sales value from 2017.

“Collectors are taking a fresh look at Hockney's The Weather series. This represents some of the more experimental work that Hockney has done, and I believe collectors are recognising significant growth potential in investing in these pieces, which is evident in the results at auction.”
Jasper Tordoff
 Hockney Price Distribution by Lots Sold - MyArtBroker 2024 Hockney Price Distribution by Lots Sold © MyArtBroker 2024

Recent Market Performance and Current Opportunities

In 2023, over half of Hockney's print market, 56%, was centered in the United Kingdom, showcasing his strong national presence and British roots. Yet, Hockney's creative reach extends far beyond his homeland, notably to the United States, where his iconic Swimming Pools series took shape, accounting for 33% of his print market. The remaining 11% is dispersed across Japan and various European countries.

Understanding the global reach of Hockney's prints, particularly through collaborations with publishers like Gemini G.E.L. in Los Angeles, responsible for producing pieces such as Friends, The Weather Series, and Some New Prints; and Kasmin in partnership with Petersburg Press in London which created A Rake's Progress, Illustrations for Fourteen Poems from C.P. Cavafy, and Illustrations for Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, provides valuable insights into market opportunities and collector preferences. Moreover, recognising these dynamics can inform strategic decisions regarding the acquisition and sale of artworks.

What Makes a Hockney Print Desirable?

Hockney's prints transcend mere artistry, embodying an investment-worthy value stemming from his unparalleled creative prowess. His works universally captivate audiences by skilfully immortalising fleeting landscapes and capturing the quintessential essence of the english country-side in The Arrival of Spring works, the dynamism and energy of Los Angeles through depictions of Swimming Pools, and the grandeur of California through Yosemite Suite.Hockney's portrayals of muses and narratives imbue his prints with profound significance and enduring appeal.

Investing in Hockney's prints offers a blend of artistic merit and lucrative opportunities, evidenced by their consistent market resilience and upward trajectory. Whether driven by aesthetic admiration, cultural resonance, or investment potential, these prints remain highly sought-after in the contemporary art landscape, attracting discerning collectors and savvy investors alike.



A Rake's Progress (complete set)

A Rake's Progress (1961-1963) consists of 16 etchings by Hockney, reimagining William Hogarth's 18th-century series of the same name. This portfolio traces the journey of a young gay man in the city, blending Hogarth's original narrative with Hockney's autobiographical elements. The decline of Hogarth's character is mirrored in Hockney's protagonist, reflecting societal shifts.

Completed in 1963, this early Hockney work gained significant traction in 2023. The complete set reappeared at Christie's in April 2023, marking its first appearance since 2017 and only the third time at auction. Surpassing its previous record of £15,625, it sold for an impressive £435,482 (with fees), solidifying its position as Hockney's top-selling piece in 2023 and showcasing substantial value appreciation over five years.


Dog Wall (complete set)

In January 2023, Hockney's Dog Wall (complete set) (1987) fetched £327,600 (with fees) at Phillips, marking his second highest sale in 2023 and setting an auction record. This set of 15 etchings surpassed its previous sale price at Sotheby's in November 2015, demonstrating a 3.6-fold increase in value over an eight-year period. Complete sets, especially from American Pop and Contemporary artists, including Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst, have gained increased collector interest. Dog Wall pays tribute to Hockney's beloved dachshunds, Stanley and Little Boodgie. Hockney's talent lies in capturing charming and universal imagery, making his works highly appealing.


Yosemite II, October 16th, 2011

Part of Hockney's acclaimed series, these en plein air sketches are also featured in his immensely popular iPad drawings. Consisting of 20 prints, Hockney's Yosemite artworks initially entered the market in 2010, fetching tens of thousands. Today, their value has soared to the hundreds of thousands. Yosemite II, October 16th, 2011 from this series appeared twice on the secondary market, first in 2020 and again in March 2023, achieving a sale price of £313,902 (with fees). This marked a 5% increase from its previous sale, securing its position as Hockney's third top-selling print in 2023, highlighting the eappeal of these sought-after pieces.


Caribbean Tea Time

Caribbean Tea Time (1987) is a notable piece from Hockney's Interiors and Exteriors series from the 1980s. What sets these works apart is the absence of a sitter; instead, the focus is on the intimate interplay between interior and exterior spaces. This particular artwork features vibrant colours in an abstract cubist format and is presented on a folding screen. Remarkably rare in the market, it resurfaced in May 2023, fetching £303,305 (with fees). In a previous sale in 2021, it sold for £94,302 (with fees), marking a significant increase of 3.2 times in value. With six appearances in the secondary market, each sale has demonstrated a consistent uptrend, showcasing the enduring strength and resilience of Hockney's market influence.


The Arrival Of Spring In Woldgate East Yorkshire 6th May 2011

Another gem from Hockney's Digital Drawings collection, The Arrival Of Spring In Woldgate East Yorkshire 6th May 2011, is part of The Arrival of Spring series. Limited to editions of 25, these pieces have consistently grown in desirability and value over time. This specific artwork made headlines at Bonhams in April 2023, setting a record as the highest-selling piece from the series and securing a spot among Hockney's top print sellers for 2023. It fetched £277,200 (with fees), marking its second appearance on the secondary market and an impressive 2.79 times increase in sales value since its initial sale in 2018.