Artist and painter David Hockney is also a prolific and exceptionally innovative printmaker, renowned for his ability to adapt to evolving technology. “I love new mediums. I think mediums can turn you on, they can excite you; they always let you do something in a different way,” Hockney has said about his passion for different styles and techniques.
Hockney discovered printmaking while studying at Bradford College of Art, exploring methods such as etching, lithography and aquatint. These early experiments had an enduring impact on his practice and his visual style.
Examining the market data using our unique value index, we have seen phenomenal returns for Hockney collectors and investors in the past five years. Between 2017 and 2022, Hockney's individual artwork returns have been overwhelmingly positive. Though Hockney's market faltered in 2020 in the wake of the pandemic, an increase in average selling price by 100% has driven strong value growth in his mature market over the last 24 months. Out of the 83 artworks where a five year comparison is available, only six show a loss. Thanks to the plethora of prints available on the secondary market, entry to the Hockney market remains accessible as we enter 2023.
In 2022, signed limited edition David Hockney prints sold for anywhere between around £1000 and £504,000 at auction. At the top end of this range was The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011, from a multi-panelled edition of only 10, which sold at auction for £504,000 when offered by Phillips on the 3rd March 2022.
The investment value of Hockney prints can be affected by several factors, including its edition size, rarity, condition and provenance. Popularity, for example if a similar artwork had featured in a recent exhibition, can also sway market trends, while other prints have lasting appeal. Hockney’s earliest series, A Rake’s Progress, are “less obviously decorative and are more of a connoisseur’s market,” states independent prints dealer Lyndsey Ingram, suggesting they appeal more to collectors interested in the works’ historical significance.
Our soon to launch, dedicated print market index, MyPortfolio, will be able to offer the more nuanced and case-by-case answers demanded by this question; click here to find out more.
The first thing to do if you are considering collecting a David Hockney print is to familiarise yourself with his oeuvre; David Hockney prints constitute a large and diverse body of work, from etchings and lithographs to homemade prints, iPad drawings, as well as prints based on his famous paintings and photographs. Of course, when buying a print, the primary guiding factor should always be which artworks appeal to you, and which you will take most pride in owning. Hockney’s subjects range from landscapes to still life; portraits of family, friends and pets, as well as works inspired by masters like Hogarth and Picasso.
In the early days of his printmaking practice, Hockney was committed to etching, lithography and aquatint. One of his best-known works from this period is his portfolio of 16 etchings, A Rake’s Progress (1961-63), which was based on both William Hogarth’s paintings of the same name and Hockney’s first trip to America.
Hockney’s lithographic work took root following time in California. In 1979, he produced a portfolio with Gemini G.E.L, which included portraits of his friends Ann Upton and Celia Birtwell.
In the mid 1980s, Hockney devised a way of making prints outside of a traditional printing studio. Using photocopy machines, fax machines and computers, he created his Home Made Prints series. “I can work with great speed and responsiveness. In fact, this is the closest I’ve ever come in printing to what it’s like to paint,” Hockney said of the technique.
Finally, between 2009-12, Hockney created over a hundred prints using his iPhone and iPad of the landscape and changing seasons in Yorkshire.
As with many artists, David Hockney’s prints relating to the most ‘classic’ of his paintings prove eternally popular. In particular, those from his time in America in the 1960s and 1970s: these large, colourful lithographs, often featuring swimming pools and intimate portraits, including A Hollywood Collection and the Paper Pool series.
But while his prints featuring swimming pools are hard to beat, as a still-active contemporary artist, many of Hockney’s more recent works have been extremely successful. Namely, the innovation behind his use of the iPad and digital printing as a favoured medium have led recently to the astounding popularity of The Arrival of Spring series, which is fast becoming the most sought after of Hockney's works. Comprising images depicting woods near the East Yorkshire village of Woldgate, each created en plein air on a different day, the 2011 series is a meditation on the joy of early spring. Hugely popular, it has since birthed another 2020 series by the artist as well as a major exhibition.
After extensive data analysis, which looks at the last 5-years of Hockney’s prints' auction performance, these are some of the prints that we think are worth looking out for in 2023:
Of course, when buying a print, the primary guiding factor should always be which artworks appeal to you, and which you will take most pride in owning.
To explore our full breakdown of the top 10 most investable David Hockney prints for 2023, read our Hockney Market Watch here.
Most of Hockney’s prints are signed, dated and include edition numbers; depending on the publisher, Hockney’s etchings and lithographs can also include a blindstamp. If this information is not available, the David Hockney Foundation is an invaluable resource that holds detailed records of the artist’s print portfolios and editions. They can provide initial help with identifying the period of your print.
Beyond the Foundation, it is crucial to ensure that any print you want to buy has detailed paperwork tracing its provenance, origin and sale history. This may mention a gallery, an auction house or any restoration work done to the print. It is also worth cross-checking with these records.
The condition of a Hockney print will affect its value, so you should always make sure the print that you want to buy is in pristine condition; before purchasing, look for signs of damage such as faded colours from exposure to direct sunlight; tearing; mould stains; yellowed paper; water stains; and warping from humidity changes.
Once you have made your purchase, it is important to keep your Hockney print in perfect condition. Prints should be framed behind UV-protective glass with an acid-free mount or backing. Once framed, keep your print in a stable environment, avoiding extreme or changing temperature, moisture and direct sunlight. If unframed, the print should be stored flat in the dark.
Once you have purchased any art print, it is crucial to keep it in tip-top condition. Find out more in our guide to restoring and caring for modern and contemporary prints.
Prints by Hockney can be found easily through auction houses, private dealers or brokers, such as MyArtbroker. Bear in mind you will pay more when you buy via a highstreet gallery, and most auction houses will charge you 25% on the hammer, plus VAT.
Starting out collecting art this way can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. As we’ve seen above, whether you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned collector, one of the keys to starting to collect David Hockney art is buying from a trusted source. Always take expert guidance on the value, condition and provenance of a piece – something that a professional seller will be able to offer.
The most important thing is to buy from somewhere that makes the process comfortable and transparent – buying any print should be an exciting prospect, not something that makes you nervous!
If you’d like to find out more about sales formats, read our Guide to Auction versus Private Sale.
At MyArtBroker we offer a safe and simple solution to buyers, connecting you directly with our expert brokers, who — if you are wishing to purchase a particular piece of David Hockney art to either start or grow your collection — can assist you in this search with our large network of collectors looking to buy and sell daily. Our brokers will also condition check and authenticate artworks, so you can have confidence before you buy.
MyArtBroker offers a secure space to connect you as a buyer with an expert broker— you can get to know our friendly specialists here.
Your personal broker will work with you to find the David Hockney you’re looking for at the price you’re willing to pay. Our experts will also condition check and authenticate artworks, so you can have confidence before you buy, as well as help arrange delivery.
We offer both the sense of trust and comfort that comes with meeting with a specialist personally, as well as the efficiency, transparency and ease of an online process.
Our global network consists of over 30,000 collectors buying and selling works daily, as well as dealers, collectors, galleries and independent experts globally that work with us to ensure we can offer the most covetable and authentic David Hockney works. Our website has 75,000 visitors every month, and we regularly publish pieces tracking the artist’s market performance, keep up to date with new works, auction results and news, as well as offer his updated biography and informative essays on all David Hockney editions.
MyArtBroker has access to a worldwide network of art collectors selling David Hockney artwork, so get in touch with us if you’re interested in buying a David Hockney print and we’ll talk you through the process.
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