The Most Expensive David Hockney Artworks

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August 14, 2023
Double East Yorkshire David Hockney

What is the most expensive David Hockney artwork sold at auction?

Portrait Of An Artist (Pool With Two Figures), November 2018

Christie’s, New York

The most expensive David Hockney painting sold was Portrait Of An Artist (Pool With Two Figures) which sold on November 15th, 2018 at Christie’s New York during their for $80,000,000 USD or circa £63,000,000 GBP,  Often considered to be one of the artist’s most important works, Portrait Of An Artist (Pool With Two Figures) used was two photographs - one of a figure swimming underwater which makes the figure appears distorted - and the other of a boy looking at something on the ground. In typical Hockney fashion, the artist plays with perspective - an interest he has developed throughout his storied career. 


Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) by David Hockney | Christie's

Henry Geldzahler And Christopher Scott, March 2019 

Christie’s, London

Christie’s, New York was the scene of the second most expensive work by Hockney to sell at auction when Henry Geldzahler And Christopher Scott sold on the March 6th, 2019 at Christie's London during their Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction for circa £34,000,000 GBP. The enormous canvas, measuring some 7ft by 10ft, is a double portrait of Geldzahler, a curator at The Met, and his partner, painter Christopher Scott. Painted in 1968, by the then 30-year-old Hockney, the work forms part of a series of seven monumental canvases that would take him the next seven years to complete. The work is a panoramic pierce that captures human relationships and is typified by Hockney’s masterful presentation of colour and naturalistic style.


David Hockney's double portrait of Henry Geldzahler: curator, Warhol  confidant and cultural svengali | Christie's

The Splash, November 2019

Christie’s, New York

Continuing with the theme of Christie’s and Hockney, The Splash sold on February 11th, 2020 at Sotheby's London during their Contemporary Art Evening Auction for £20,700,000 GBP. The Splash was a career defining work in the career of Hockney and first established his international reputation as one of the most important artists of his generation. Arguably the most well-known DAvid Hockney painting, the execution of the work showcases Hockney’s supreme ability to portray light, colour and water all-the-while whilst keeping the theme of human relationships central. It is said to have been inspired by a photograph that the artist saw in a magazine about how to build swimming pools. 


David Hockney's Iconic Masterpiece,

Sur La Terrasse, November 2019

Christie’s, New York

On the work, Ana Maria Celis, head of Evening Sale, Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s said, “Sur la Terrasse is an extraordinarily beautiful work, which provides a window into the conclusion of David Hockney’s relationship with his muse and longtime love, Peter Schlesinger. This work marks a momentous turning point in the artist’s personal and professional lives. The tenderness and nostalgia of this moment is unmistakable in Schlesinger’s position with his back facing the artist, as he looks into the wilds that lie beyond their hotel terrace in Marrakesh.”

A spectacular full-life piece, Sur La Terrasse was painted during a difficult period, often cited as the decline, in his relationship with his first love and greatest muse Peter Schlesinger. It is the last time Hockney would use Schlesinger in a work whilst they were together. With his back to Hockney, the longing feeling of wanting acknowledgement, to be seen by a partner who is leaving, is palpable. An eternal odd to the feeling of soon-to-be loss and the tension that it causes, Sur La Terrasse is a masterpiece.  The work would eventually sell  on November 13th, 2019 at Christie's New York during their Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale for £20,285,175 GBP.


Press Center Christies Christies to Offer David Hockneys Sur la Terrasse,  1971 Unseen by the Public for 46 Years

Pacific Coast Highway And Santa Monica,  June 2018

Sotheby’s London

As part of the incredible set of Hockney works that appeared at the same auction,  Pacific Coast Highway And Santa Monica sold for £19,694,345 GBP at Sotheby’s London on June 26th, 2018 during their Contemporary Art Evening Auction. The 1990 work mixed inspiration from luminaries such as Van Gogh, Picasso and Hockney’s experience in designing theatre sets. The natural landscape is presented through the prism of memory which blends and distorts the scene creating an energetic landscape that captures the vividness of California. 


David Hockney's $20m Pacific Coast Highway & Santa Monica

Double East Yorkshire, June 2018

Sotheby’s London

Also featured in the same auction as Pacific Coast Highway And Santa Monica,Double East Yorkshire, a more recent work, sold for £10,324,311 GBP. The catalogue note for the work states, “…Double East Yorkshire, a painting which in its large dimensions (nearly four metres wide) and division across two canvases anticipates the pictures Hockney was to make in the Wolds nearly a decade later.” Marco Livingstone, ‘The Road Less Travelled,’ in: Exh. Cat., London, Royal Academy of Arts, David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, 2012, p. 26. And it is indeed, the largest of his Yorkshire landscape paintings, which would see the artist produce almost a decade’s worth of art dedicated to his county. The canvas presents idyllic, rolling fields in an alluring colour palette that makes one recall John Keats’ Ode to Autumn - an abundant time of plenty.


Double East Yorkshire

Woldgate Woods 24 25 And 26 October, June 2018

Sotheby’s London


A spectacularly immersive work, Woldgate Woods 24 25 And 26 October 2006, depicts the changing of seasons in the North of England. The work is part of a group of nine gigantic six-panel paintings that show the same scene changing throughout the course of the year. Limited by the size of the canvas he was able to fit through the staircase at his Bridlington studio, he devised a method of using multiple canvases in order to achieve the desired scale. The work sold for £8,035,292 at Sotheby’s London Contemporary Art Evening Auction on June 26th. 


David Hockney - Woldgate Woods, 24, 25, and 26 October 2006

Day Pool With Three Blues (Paper Pool 7), May 2019

Christie’s, New York


Selling for £7,089,964 at Christie's New York in their  Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on May 15th, 2019. The work is a colourful rendition of Hockney’s famous swimming pools.  In the summer of 1978, while travelling from England to Los Angeles, David Hockney stopped paid a visit to the upstate New York workshop of his friend,  Kenneth Tyler, founder of the famous Tyler Graphics studio. During his sejour, Tyler showed Hockney a new technique using handmade paper, coloured with dye and pigmented pulp. Hockney thought the result was “stunningly beautiful,” and began working on a new series of unique works that would become an important addition to the artist’s canon.  


David Hockney (b. 1937)

15 Canvas Study Of The Grand Canyon, October 2017

Sotheby’s, London

In 15 Canvas Study Of The Grand Canyon, Hockney captures the importance of the Grand Canyon to the American psyche. Composed of 15 different oils on canvas, the work captures the size and scale of the landscape in a resplendent selection of oranges, reds and purples which communicate a historic, eternal landscape presented through the perspective of the viewer who is in the centre of the work.  The work sold for £5,560,878 GBP at Sotheby's London Contemporary Art Evening Auction on October 5th, 2017. 


Piscine De Medianoche (Paper Pool 30), May 2018

Sotheby’s New York

The final work on our guide to the top 10 most expensive Hockney works sold at auction is the brilliant Piscine De Medianoche. Part of the series of paper pools created in 1978 and inspired by Hockney’s friend Kenneth Tyler, the work shows a swimming pool at nighttime. Dark, saturated colours abound within the piece creating a sense of languid intensity, of cooling evening and, in particular, the interplay of the saturation of colour is most remarkable. The work above the upper estimate of £5,514,416 GBP for £8,035,292 GBP at Sotheby’s New York on May 16th, 2018 during their Contemporary Art Evening Auction.


For more information about our collection of David Hockney original prints for sale or if you wish to sell a David Hockney print, contact Andipa Editions via or call +44 (0)20 7589 2371.

About the author

Alex Yellop