Christie’s postwar and contemporary art evening sale in New York in November will feature a little-seen painting by David Hockney with a $25 million-to-$45 million estimate, positioning it as a likely highlight. Sur la Terrasse, from 1971, was painted at life-size scale and counts as the last depiction of Peter Schlesinger, Hockney’s lover and muse, before their relationship ended. Schlesinger stares off into the jungle-like terrain of Marrakech, Morocco, with a sense of wistfulness and detachment.
Sur la Terrasse (1971) will be at auction for the first time after living in a single private collection since 1973, when the painting was last seen in public. Before it potentially goes back into a private collection again, Christie’s will give the public another chance to see it at the auction house’s location in Los Angeles (Hockey’s hometown) starting October 15—in advance of its turn on the auction block in New York on November 13.
“This work marks a momentous turning point in the artist’s personal and professional lives,” Ana Maria Celis, Christie’s head of evening sale, postwar and contemporary art, said in a statement. “We are very pleased to be bringing Sur la Terrasse to market and into the public eye after residing within a private collection for nearly 40 years, where it went unseen by the public for almost as long.”
Hockney is currently in the running with Jeff Koons as the living artist attached to the highest price at auction after his Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) 1972) sold for $90.3 million at Christie’s New York last November—only to be beaten six month later by the $91.1 million sale in May for Koons’s Rabbit (1986).