Sotheby’s has announcing that one of the most famous images from David Hockney’s career will be offered with an estimate of £20 million–£30 million ($26.1 million–$39.2 million) during its contemporary art evening sale in London on February 11. The Splash (1966) is a companion work to the Tate Modern museum’s famous A Bigger Splash (1967) which is one of the best known works by Hockney and a key image from the 1960s.
The Splash previously set a record for Hockney’s work when it sold for £2.9 million at Sotheby’s in London in 2006. Since that time, several works by Hockney have sold for many times that price resetting the artist’s market several times over. The first works to break into the eight-figure range were later paintings from after Hockney’s return to his Yorkshire home. Then, at the end of 2018, Hockney’s market was reset again with collector Joe Lewis’s dramatic sale of Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) for $90.3 million in New York.
That sale was followed a year ago in London by the double portrait of Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott, which made £37.6 million in London last March. Although these were the top prices for Hockney’s work, pool pictures have continued to post very strong sales. The artist’s work on paper Piscine De Medianoche (Paper Pool 30) sold for $11.3 million at Sotheby’s in May of 2018. Recently, Hockney’s first pool painting, Picture of a Hollywood Swimming Pool (1964), sold at Sotheby’s New York in November 2019 for $7.2 million.
The Splash is one of a series of three “Splash” paintings. The largest is Tate Modern’s A Bigger Splash, which is similar in composition and scale. The Splash measures 72 by 72 inches. A third painting, A Little Splash (1966), remains in a private collection and has never been sold publicly.
Update, 1/10/19, 11:15 p.m.: A previous version of the story misstated the pound-to-dollar conversion of the Hockney work’s estimate. Its estimate is $26.1 million–$39.2 million, not $15.3 million–23 million. This article has been updated to reflect this.