hero-hockney.jpg
Contemporary Art

David Hockney's Dazzling Ode to Los Angeles

hockney-blog-image.jpg
DAVID HOCKNEY, PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY AND SANTA MONICA , 1990. ESTIMATE $20,000,000–30,000,000. 
TO BE OFFERED AT SOTHEBY’S CONTEMPORARY ART EVENING AUCTION  (16 MAY, NEW YORK).

A highlight of David Hockney’s recent critically-acclaimed retrospectives at the Tate Britain, London, the Centre Pompidou, Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica is a paragon of the artist’s storied career. This vibrant, large-scale oil painting is poised to set a new record for the artist in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction (16 May, New York). 

One of a limited group of monumental California landscape paintings, Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica is a defining moment within the British-born Hockney’s 60-year career and the pinnacle of his longstanding visual infatutation with the city of Los Angeles. The ambitious painting, dazzling with hues of chartreuse, tangerine, rose, lavender and cerulean across its 10-foot wide canvas, epitomizes the artist’s bold use of color – a characteristic that has come to define his œuvre. Comparable works are held in the collections of such renowned institutions as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 

hockney-portrait-seated.jpg
IN 1964 BRITISH-BORN DAVID HOCKNEY MOVED TO LOS ANGELES, INSPIRING HIS CAREER-LONG ARTISTIC FASCINATION WITH THE CITY. 
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE CECIL BEATON STUDIO ARCHIVE AT SOTHEBY’S.

“Following its tour in the sensational museum retrospective last year, we are honored to bring this exuberant monumental landscape to market for the first time publicly this May," said David Galperin, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction. "David Hockney’s Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica is a true triumph of his singular vision: a panoramic and kaleidoscopic paean to his adopted hometown. We eagerly anticipate setting a new bar for the artist at auction on the 16th with one of the most well-known paintings of his beloved California.”

This 1990 oil on canvas is also an acknowledgement of the importance and significance of traditional painting. At a time when artists across the board were turning away from painting and towards photography and conceptual art, Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica addresses the history and impact of artistic styles such as Post-Impressionism and Fauvism, all executed in Hockney’s signature vernacular.

David Hockney’s <i>Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica</i> is a true triumph of his singular vision: a panoramic and kaleidoscopic paean to his adopted hometown.
David Galperin, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction

Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica may also be interpreted as David Hockney’s heartfelt ode to Los Angeles. In his autobiography That’s The Way I See It, which features the present work on the back cover, he writes, “anyone who had been on my Wagner drive would immediately recognize Pacific Coast Highway [and Santa Monica] – a multiple view of Santa Monica Bay and the mountains.”

Wagner Road, the artist’s multifaceted and variegated daily route from his home in the Hollywood Hills to his studio on Santa Monica Boulevard, encapsulates Los Angeles’s bright sunlight and bold colors, the very characteristics that drew Hockney away from the grey skies of London. Remembered and recalled in his studio, the result is a masterpiece in which mountain peaks, rolling hills, serpentine roads, calm bays and orderly cityscapes harmoniously vie for attention, guiding the viewer from the top of the road to the horizon.

With an estimate of $20–30 million, Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica is set to break the artist’s record – one set by Sotheby’s in New York in November 2016 for Woldgate Woods. Before its auction debut, Hockney's masterpiece will be view beginning 4 May in Sotheby's New York galleries.

Featured Content

We use our own and third party cookies to enable you to navigate around our Site, use its features and engage on social media, and to allow us to perform analytics, remember your preferences, provide services that you have requested and produce content and advertisements tailored to your interests, both on our Site as well as others. For more information, or to learn how to change your cookie or marketing preferences, please see our updated Privacy Policy & Cookie Policy.

By continuing to use our Site, you consent to our use of cookies and to the practices described in our updated Privacy Policy.

Close