Smoking Cigars In First Ever Hockney Auction

David HockneyThe
first auction ever to be entirely devoted to the works of David
Hockney features a highly topical photo-collage from the pro-smoking
artist. ‘Billy Wilder lighting his cigar,’ made in 1982, is
set to fetch up to £6,000 in Bonhams’ sale of David Hockney
Prints & Multiples on 31 October, which is collectively
expected to generate around half a million pounds.

The demand for pieces by Hockney has never been higher, and
the recent media interest surrounding the Bradford artist’s
controversial stance on smoking in bars and pubs has generated
even greater interest in his work. This landmark sale will celebrate
Hockney’s contribution thus far to the artistic life of Great
Britain, and will concentrate on his works on paper, primarily
prints and multiples. Estimates range from £200 – 200,000.

More controversy comes in the shape of Hollywood blonde Theresa
Russell, who is the erotic subject for a photo-collage made
from 140 separate photographs. Russell is seen from above, nude
on pink satin sheets, in a pose reminiscent of the early calendar
pin-up photographs of Marylin Monroe. A femme fatale in many
of her film roles, starring alongside the likes of Robert de
Niro, Jack Nicholson and Harvey Keitel to name but a few, Russell
portrayed the tragic Munroe in ‘Insignificance’ in 1985, the
year after this work is dated. It is expected to fetch up to


Further nudity is featured in a naked portrait of the editors
of the counter-culture magazine ‘OZ,’ entitled ‘For the Oz Obscenity
Fund.’ It is expected to fetch between £1,200 – 1,800.
An extract from Richard Neville’s "Hippie Hippie Shake"
amusingly describes his sitting for Hockney: "I sat naked
on a chair, as David Hockney, his eyes huge through pop specs,
coolly appraised my loins. I felt shy and under equipped. The
artist sketched quickly. Conversation was minimal…Jim was
drawn in half-profile, revealingly clad in a short T-shirt.
Unlike me, he professed to be perfectly happy with the way his
genitals were depicted. Felix stole the sitting. Seated on a
chair, with jaunty kerchief, legs splayed, cock dangling, he
looked like a pirate poised for an orgy. I jokingly asked how
he had buttered up Hockney, and forever afterwards he remarked
to interviewers, ‘Oh my goodness, it caused terrible dissension….
Richard was furious.’"

The sale’s top lot is a vivid composition in which Hockney
has created a veritable riot of colour that bursts across nearly
two metres of purple paper. The pastel study for ‘A Closer Grand
Canyon’ was acquired by the present owner from the Richard Gray
Gallery in New York, and is expected to fetch £150,000
– 200,000.

Some of Hockney’s most famous print sets, which are wonderful
representations of his oeuvre, are to go under the hammer at
this unique sale. ‘A Rake’s Progress’ (1961) is renowned as
one of Hockney’s foremost works; a modern telling of Hogarth’s
18th century moral satire. This set of 16 etchings, one poster
and book are estimated to fetch £40,000 – 60,000. Another
group portfolio set, ‘Six Fairy Tales from The Brothers Grimm,’
(1970), are presented in a complete book with text and 39 etchings,
at £4,000 – 6,000. These beautiful illustrations were
inspired by six of the Brothers Grimm m ost gruesome fairy tales,
and Hockney presents vivid images capturing the mood or detail
rather than the main event – a hallmark of his ideology and

Hockney’s contribution to the "Homage a Picasso"
is also represented by his ‘Studies for Picassoid Picassos’
(a series of drawings based on Picasso’s sculptures) at £20,000
– 30,000, dated Paris 1973. An etching entitled ‘The Student:
Homage to Picasso’ of the same year, and depicting the artist
regarding one of Picasso’s ‘self-portrait’ sculptures, is also
included at £2,500 – 3,500.

Also among these some 99 lots are numerous photographs, postcards
and signed posters – including his opera series – along with
more personal representations of his late mother, and friend
Henry Geldzahler, who poses languidly with a cigar. In the 1980’s
Hockney turned from the hustle and bustle of designing operas,
experimenting with new techniques and media, and breaking ground
in his paintings, to the intimacy of drawing the tranquillity
of domestic life. He made scores of drawings of his two beloved
dachshunds, Stanley and Boodgie, who were also the subjects
of a series of 45 oil paintings made in 1995. A print of one
of these paintings, ‘Horizontal dogs,’ is included in the sale
at £2,000 – 3,000. The series is infused with a gentle
lyricism that communicates his abiding affection for his pets.

Two copies of Hockney’s much-loved shimmering ‘Paper Pools’
image are included at £2,000 – 2,000 each, and there are
many representations of still life flowers, cacti and interiors,
which look certain to be snapped up by Hockney aficionados on
31 October.

For more details visit the Bonhams
web site.

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