5
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PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT AMERICAN COLLECTION

David Hockney
ARRANGED FELLED TREES
Estimate
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1,500,0002,000,000
LOT SOLD. 3,397,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
5

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT AMERICAN COLLECTION

David Hockney
ARRANGED FELLED TREES
Estimate
Double Dagger
Indicates that the lot is being sold whilst subject to Temporary Importation, and that VAT is due at the reduced rate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
Artist's Resale Right
Purchase of lots marked with this symbol will be subject to the payment of the artist's resale right.
1,500,0002,000,000
LOT SOLD. 3,397,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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London

David Hockney
B. 1937
ARRANGED FELLED TREES
signed, titled and dated May 2008 on the reverse 
oil on canvas 
121.9 by 152.4cm.; 48 by 60in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Pace Wildenstein, New York

Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 2009 

Exhibited

Schwäbisch Hall, Kunsthalle Würth, David Hockney: Nur Natur/ Just Nature, 2009, p. 151, no. 35, illustrated in colour

New York, Pace Wildenstein, David Hockney: Paintings 2006-2009, 2009, p. 31, illustrated in colour 

London, Royal Academy of Arts; Bilbao, Guggenheim Museum; and Cologne, Museum Ludwig, David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture, 2012-13, p. 195, no. 95, illustrated in colour 

Catalogue Note

Executed in 2008, Arranged Felled Trees is an extraordinary, joyful example of David Hockney’s legendary depictions of the bucolic landscape of East Yorkshire: a triumphant eulogy to an area the artist became enamoured with as a young teenager. Attesting to the position of Arranged Felled Trees as one of the artist’s crucial later works, its importance has been repeatedly recognised on the international stage through its inclusion in several of Hockney’s recent major exhibitions, including the pivotal survey of his landscapes at the Royal Academy in London in 2012 (which later travelled to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne) and David Hockney: Nur Natur/ Just Nature at Kunsthalle Würth. As in Hockney’s unmitigated masterpiece, Les Parc des Sources Vichy (1970), in the present work verdant trees act as perspectival devices, leading the eye to the central axis where a totem-like tree proudly stands, springing from a luscious bed of bluebells. Referencing the art historical trope of repoussoir, the foreground is punctuated by freshly cut boughs that jauntily point towards the horizon in Hockney’s typically naïve naturalistic manner. As is found in most of the works from this stunning series, the palette of Arranged Felled Trees is characterised by complementary contrasts – the resplendent greens of the spindly trees and lush vegetation set against the nascent red buds on the forest floor; and the orange hues of the fresh wood lying on the purple bluebells – so deliberate as to create an unrealistic impression. Indeed, the intense colouration found within the work of the Fauve artists provides one of the touchstones of Hockney’s Yorkshire landscapes, the vibrant hues of Arranged Felled Trees being reminiscent in tone to those found within the paintings of André Derain or Henri Matisse. The tactile application of paint in Vincent Van Gogh’s later animated paintings of the countryside surrounding Arles and St Rémy can also be discerned within the thick impasto of Arranged Felled Trees’ paint surface and the swirling curves of the brushstrokes. Although primarily aligned in the public consciousness with the sunny vistas of Los Angeles, since 2005 Hockney has tirelessly worked on this glorious series of paintings of the East Yorkshire Wolds, and in doing so discovered that a prodigious subject was there on his doorstep, transforming him into undoubtedly one of the greatest and most obsessive painters of the English countryside in art history.

Hockney first came to know this small pocket of Yorkshire when he was around fifteen years old as he spent his summer holidays of 1952 and 1953 collecting corn on a local farm. It was a time he recalled with fondness: “It was a terrific experience. The job was boring, but I took home eight pounds at the end and it instilled in me a love of the landscape which I never forgot” (David Hockney quoted in: Christopher Simon Sykes, Hockney: The Biography, Volume I 1937-1975, London 2011, p. 35). Although these gentle hills and dense forest coves always held a special place in Hockney’s heart, it was not until his sixtieth year that he came to study them with a renewed vigour and interest. Prior to the late 1990s Hockney’s investigations into landscape painting were dominated by sunny vistas of his adopted home, Southern California, his journeys through the great American West, Europe and to more exotic lands such as Japan, Mexico and Egypt. In 1997, it was the tragic combination of his mother’s advancing age and the ill health of his close friend Jonathan Silver that drew Hockney back to the Wolds. Every three months he would return to this small area of East Yorkshire and take his mother out for long drives across the countryside. In the summer of ‘97, Hockney embarked on a small group of oil paintings that were driven by the accumulated sensations of these habitual journeys. Although vivid enough to be evocative of direct observation, these works made recourse to the overarching simplifications and generalisations of memory, and are very different to his most iconic and celebrated Yorkshire landscapes that he commenced nearly a decade later in 2005.

To create this later dynamic group of Yorkshire landscapes Hockney would set out at daybreak traversing the Wolds to find his subject for that day. Having found the exact view he wanted to portray Hockney would sketch out the scene, already defining the composition of the final painting at this early stage, which, upon his return to the studio, would be transferred to the canvas with the aid of a grid. For the majority of works in this series Hockney would repeatedly return to the same location in order to capture the atmosphere of a certain day. For certain subjects, such as the freshly felled branches in the present work, however, Hockney had to seize all the sensations in his quickly drawn sketches as the felled trees often would have been removed upon his return from the studio in the afternoon. Depicting a subject that has been seen for a comparatively brief period, Arranged Felled Trees and the other log paintings have acquired a unique quality; the fleeting aura of an image suspended in memory. As Marco Livingstone poignantly sums up: “the paintings [Hockney] made of the Wolds between 2005 and 2008 are in purely technical terms – but also in their observational accuracy and evocation of space – the most commanding he has ever made” (Marco Livingstone, ‘Home to Bridlington: Routes to a Private Paradise’, in: Exhibition Catalogue, Schwäbisch Hall, Kunsthalle Würth, David Hockney: Nur Natur/ Just Nature, 2009, p. 188).

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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London