David Hockney's canyon of California sunshine goes up for auction

David Hockney’s canyon of California sunshine goes up for auction… with an estimated value of £27million

  • A 1980 painting by David Hockney is expected to fetch £27million at auction 
  • Nichols Canyon is a vibrantly colourful depiction of a winding Los Angeles street 
  • The significant landscape painting has been in private hands for nearly 40 years

Full of colour, it is a stunning depiction of the Los Angeles landscape by Britain’s greatest living artist David Hockney.

Yesterday this painting – Nichols Canyon – went on display at Phillips auctioneers in London.

An estimate of £27million ($35million) has been put on the 1980 work, which has been in private hands for nearly 40 years, before a sale in New York in December.

Hockney, who lived in California at the time, passed the canyon each day on the way to his studio. 

British artist David Hockney’s 1980 painting Nichols Canyon is on display at Phillips auctioneers in London ahead of a sale in New York this December

He said: ‘The moment you live up here, you get a different view of Los Angeles… these wiggly lines seem to enter your life, and they entered the paintings.’

‘I was living up the hills and painting in my studio down the hills, so I was travelling back and fourth every day, often two, three, four times a day.

‘I actually felt those wiggly lines,’ the artist said in a statement.  

Hockney is better known for his swimming pool paintings. 

Nichols Canyon marked the beginning of his decades-long panoramic landscapes series.

Jean-Paul Engelen, Phillips’ Deputy Chairman, said: ‘It, without question, the most significant landscape by Hockney ever to appear at auction.’ 

The painting is due to travel from London to Hong Kong in early November before the sale scheduled to take place in New York on December 7.  

If it sells for the estimated price, Nichols Canyon would be among the top three most expensive Hockney works sold at auction.   

The auction follows the £12.8million sale earlier this month of Hockney’s painting of Sir David Webster, former chief of London’s Royal Opera House. 

The arts venue auctioned off the painting in a bid to raise funds as its revenue has been seriously depleted by the coronavirus pandemic.


Hockney was inspired to paint the winding Los Angeles road after travelling up and down it each day between his home and studio.

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