Nichols Canyonwhich David Hockney painted in 1980 is considered one of his greatest masterpieces and by far the most significant landscape remaining in private hands. With him, the artist began a long-term series of panoramic landscapes. It is also one of two monumental works that he completed when he returned to painting after a short break from studying photography in the 1970s. Second -Mulholland Drive. The road to the studio " - was purchased by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art immediately upon completion and has been in the institution's permanent collection for four decades.
Nichols Canyon is one of the greatest contemporary depictions of the Los Angeles neighborhood. The painting has been exhibited at all important Hockney exhibitions. For example, at the iconic group show "A New Spirit in Painting" at the Royal Academy in London in 1981, as well as at the main traveling retrospectives of the artist in 1988-1989 and 2017-2018.
In the fall of 1980, Hockney returned from New York to Los Angeles and again took up landscape painting, inspired by the combination of the city and the surrounding area. Every day, as he drove through Nichols Canyon to his studio, he admired the wildlife and winding lines that surrounded him.
“When you live here, you see Los Angeles differently. These wavy lines seem to enter your life and pictures- said Hockney. - When I conceived Nichols Canyon, I took a large canvas and drew a winding line down the center that became a road. I lived on a hilltop and painted in my workshop in the valley. Therefore, I went back and forth every day, often two, three, four times a day. I really felt these wavy lines. ".
After finishing work on Nichols Canyon, Hockney decided to keep the landscape for himself, not sell it. However, shortly thereafter, he literally fell in love with a little job. Pablo Picassoexhibited at the Claude Bernard Gallery in Paris. The painting cost 135 thousand dollars, which Hockney did not dare to spend. Upon learning of the problem, André Emmerich's gallery offered a deal: she bought a painting by Picasso for Hockney, and in return he gave her two of his works - "Nichols Canyon" and "Conversation" - a colorful portrait of curated Henry Geldzaler and Raymond Foyer.
The Emmerich Gallery did not fail: in 1982, the Canyon was bought by a famous collector from the West Coast, who owned the painting until 2020. He decided to part with his treasure and handed it over to the auction house Phillips for sale. The canvas, estimated at about $ 35 million, is due to go under the hammer on December 7th. This is the first time that Hockney's landscape has been asked for a price comparable to that of his figurative work.
The lifestyle and landscapes of Los Angeles became one of the iconic themes in Hockney's work, expressed in a series of pools from the 1960s to the California landscapes of the 1980s. Nichols Canyon marked the beginning of the famous collection of picturesque panoramas of the city he loved most. In these works, the artist subtly explores the two-dimensional depiction of movement and the passage of time through an almost cinematic iteration of memory and repetition.
Nichols Canyon is influenced by the bold palette and expressive artistic approach of the Fauves, such asHenri Matisse and André Derain... This landscape is a demonstration of Hockney's insightful ability to connect past and present in dialogue, reimagining and reinventing modernism for the modern era.