A Seller’s Guide To David Hockney

Written by - Lucy Howie
Coloured Flowers Made Of Paper And Ink by David Hockney - MyArtBrokerColoured Flowers Made Of Paper And Ink © David Hockney 1971

If you are in the market to sell a David Hockney print, here are a few pieces of advice before you start your journey, to make sure you sell at the right time and achieve the right price.

Looking to buy a Hockney print? Read our dedicated David Hockney Buyers Guide.

In a career that has spanned nearly 70 years, David Hockney is undoubtedly one of the most experimental and prolific English artists working today. He made his first etching in 1952 when he was 17 years old. Now, his practice has grown to include etchings, lithographs, aquatints, ‘homemade prints’ using photocopiers and faxes, printed iPad drawings and photographic editions of his best-loved paintings.

How much does a Hockney print sell for?

Unique prints by Hockney can sell for millions of pounds at auction. The auction record is Piscine De Medianoche (Paper Pool 30), which sold in May 2018 for $11.7million (£8.7 million). Editioned prints, meanwhile, can sell for six-figure sums – such as Hockney’s iPad drawing Yosemite II, October 16th 2011, which achieved $403,200 (£298,499) in December 2020.

Each of Hockney’s print mediums have such different styles that they can attract a range of collectors and investors – as well as price points – but, generally, his prints with a small edition number are rarer and more desirable than those with larger edition numbers. Signed prints and artist’s proofs are usually more expensive than an unsigned version of the same image.

There are also trends in Hockney’s market. Large, vibrant images of swimming pools and landscapes from the artist’s time in America are among the most popular works among buyers. This might be due to the fame of swimming pool paintings like A Bigger Splash in the Tate collection, or the record-breaking Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures).

Lithograph Water Made Of Lines And Crayon by David Hockney - MyArtBrokerLithograph Water Made Of Lines And Crayon © David Hockney 1978

Hockney’s portraits are also popular on the secondary market, as they offer a unique insight into his relationship with the sitter (“Portraits aren’t just made up of drawing, they are made up of other insights as well,” Hockney has said). His lithograph An Image of Celia, also in the Tate collection, can sell for up to $175,000 (£134,260) with fees at auction. Celia Birtwell is among Hockney’s favourite muses – this intimacy, as well as the work’s bright colours, highly complex printing technique and the reference to Pablo Picasso, makes it one of Hockney’s most sought-after prints.

An Image of Celia by David Hockney - MyArtBrokerAn Image Of Celia © David Hockney 1984-6

How do I prove my Hockney print is authentic?

Hockney releases the majority of his prints as signed editions, although unsigned editions are available for some series; the artist does not issue certificates of authenticity, so signed prints provide more security than prints without a signature. This is not to say that unsigned prints can not fetch great prices on the private and public market.

For signed etchings and lithographs, Hockney writes his signature in pencil on the bottom right of the paper along with a shortened year (for example, ‘2010’ is written as ‘10’). He writes the edition number on the bottom left of the paper. Any print pertaining to be an authentic Hockney without this format should be looked at by a specialist to conclude authenticity.

Depending on the publisher, Hockney’s etchings and lithographs can also come with their blindstamps. Hockney has worked with many of the same publishers and print studios for decades, including Tyler Graphics, ever since they made a portfolio of eight portraits in 1979; Editions Alecto, who published Hockney’s A Rake’s Progress series in 1963; Petersburg Press, who published Illustrations for Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm in 1969; and Gemini G. E. L., with whom Hockney has been working with since 1973. The blindstamp of a well-known printing studio can provide an extra layer of authenticity for a Hockney print.

Hockney publishes signed prints of his iPad drawings himself. He will sometimes add his own blindstamp to the paper along with his signature, date and edition number.

My Parents by David Hockney - MyArtBrokerMy Parents © David Hockney 1975

What if my Hockney print needs restoring?

The condition of your Hockney print will affect its value; If the artwork is not in perfect condition, it may be necessary to restore the piece in order to achieve the best price.

One of the most common issues is that the print is cockled or ‘wavy’, as paper can distort due to changes in temperature and humidity. You should also check if the paper has discoloured due to over-exposure to light, and look carefully for scratches, tears or stains.

These are some of the most obvious signs of damage for a print – more information is available in MyArtBroker’s guide to restoring and caring for prints or you can contact our experts to advise you on whether restoration is required for your Hockney print.

When is the best time to sell my Hockney print?

The best time to sell your Hockney is when there is a rise in the artist’s popularity and demand, such as when he is holding a critically acclaimed exhibition or a major work makes a splash at auction.

However, the market is strong and we have buyers collecting regularly. Signed, limited-edition photographic prints of Hockney’s iconic, original works – many of which are now in museums – are consistently popular at the moment. There is a large market for such works in the MyArtBroker network.

At MyArtBroker, our specialists keep a close eye on art market trends so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’re looking for advice on the best time to sell.

The Older Rapunzel by David Hockney - MyArtBrokerThe Older Rapunzel © David Hockney 1969

Online vs Auction vs Private: Where should I sell my Hockney print?

Online platforms, auction houses and private sales are the three main options for selling a print; each has their own advantages and disadvantages, ultimately depending on your level of confidence and expertise in the art market.

Many new sellers turn to public online auction platforms, such as eBay, because they offer a huge audience, flexibility and a small commission. But you may risk undervaluing your Hockney print or falling foul of a fraudulent buyer.

Auction houses have an established reputation for selling Hockney prints. They can value your artwork for free and advise on its authenticity, condition and the market. But selling with an auction house comes at a price – on the day of the auction, there is no guarantee that your print will sell. An unsuccessful sale could risk your Hockney print losing its credibility. If your print sells successfully, you will need to pay up to 15% of the hammer price in seller’s fee, plus cover marketing and transport costs.

Private brokers like MyArtBroker can offer you the same free valuation and expert advice within a shorter time frame. With our large network of collectors, we help find you a potential buyer at your convenience, we don’t make you wait until the auction comes around and never charge anything to sell.

Submit a Hockney print today for a full appraisal.

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