Hockney’s The Splash is going on sale

David Hockney’s iconic 1966 painting The Splash is set to makes waves at Sotheby’s London when it goes under the hammer this February. And it’ll only set you back a cool £30 million!

Starring in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction, the artwork, described as “a breath-taking realisation of David Hockney’s Californian fantasy”, will be offered with an estimate price tag of £20-30 million. That’s more than six times the price achieved when it last sold at auction in 2006 – 40 years after it was painted ­– and made a record for the artist (£2.9 million).

David Hockney The Splash 1966 Hi Res In Situ

The Splash is a quintessential example of Hockney’s lifelong fascination with the texture, appearance and depth of water – and the second in a series of three ‘splashes’. You’ll find the largest and final, A Bigger Splash (95 x 96 inches), in the Tate collection in London, if you’re not lucky enough to secure this one at auction. With only a slight variation in composition, this version (72 by 72 inches) is a close sister to that in the Tate.

 David Hockney The Splash 1966 Est 20 30 Million

David Hockney, The Splash, 1966, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 72 inches

Emma Baker, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale, said: “Not only is this a landmark work within David Hockney’s oeuvre, it’s an icon of Pop that defined an era and also gave a visual identity to LA. Even looking beyond the twentieth century, few artworks have attained as mythic a status as this painting. Equally as recognisable as Munch’s series of screams, Monet’s water lilies or Van Gogh’s flowers, Hockney’s splash is ingrained within our cultural imagination.”

Created at a watershed moment in his career, the three ‘splashes’ not only capture the fleeting moment just seconds after a diver breaks the calm surface but also helped to secure Hockney’s international reputation as a leading artist of his generation.

Discussing A Bigger Splash, in Hockney by Hockney (1976), Hockney said: “I loved the idea of painting this thing that lasts for two seconds; it takes me two weeks to paint this event that lasts for two seconds. Everyone knows a splash can’t be frozen in time, so when you see it like that in a painting it’s even more striking than in a photograph.”

With nine of the artist’s 10 highest auction sales occurring in the last two years, this is definitely one to watch.

Prior to the Contemporary Art Evening Auction on February 11, The Splash will go on view at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, Taipei, New York and finally London between February 7-11.