David Hockney Nichols Canyon Painting Auction Report

Estimated Price: $35 million

Auction Price: $41 million

On December 7, 2020 Phillips contemporary evening sale, in New York David Hockney Nichols Canyon painting was auctioned. The painting was one of two monumental works by Hockney, which he completed after returning to painting from a hiatus spent exploring photography in the 1970s.

Phillips aimed to see the year out on a high note with a sale of 35 lots of 20th century and contemporary art that carried a $110 million–$160 million estimate. At long last, the house surpassed expectations and hit its estimate with a $134.6 million total, marking the highest total for a Phillips contemporary art sale in New York and a 25 percent increase over last winter’s equivalent sale.

The top lot was David Hockney’s 7-by-5-foot 1980 painting Nichols Canyon, a view of the landscape close to his home in California. The anonymous “Distinguished American Collector” who had consigned it turned out to be Seattle-based real-estate developer Richard Hedreen, currently better known for buying a Frans Hals from Sotheby’s in a private sale in 2011 for $11.75 million, only to be told that it was a forgery.

At the sale, there appeared to be only three bidders, one on behalf of the guarantor. Estimated to sell at $35 million, it got one bid over that from London-based Phillips chairman Cheyenne Westphal, bringing the work to $41 million a record for a Hockney landscape. Earlier, in February, his iconic painting The Splash (1966) sold at Sotheby's London for $29.8 million.

Thus, this Nichols Canyon painting is the highest auctioned work of David Hockney.