David Hockney’s Life-Size Scale Painting of His Greatest Muse to Go Under the Hammer for US$25m

Last year, an emotional painting by David Hockney depicting the great love of his life went up for auction and sold for a record-breaking price. This season, a life-size scale painting of the same protagonist will go under the hammer for US$25m-45m.

David Hockney. Sur la Terrasse | US$25m-45m

David Hockney (right) and Peter Schlesinger

Marrakesh, Morocco

In 1966, Hockney met the eighteen-year-old Schlesinger, who was a student in one of Hockney’s advanced art classes at UCLA. Schlesinger was the great love of Hockney’s life as well as a favourite model for the next five year.

The most famous Hockney’s painting of Schlesinger is probably the artist’s record-breaking painting, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), which was sold for US$90.3m at Christie’s New York last November. The painting set the then record for the most valuable work of art by a living artist ever sold at auction. The record was later replaced by Jeff Koons’s Rabbit that was sold for US$91.07m this May.

Sur la Terrasse was based on a series of photographs taken on the balcony of the couple’s room at the Hôtel de la Mamounia in Marrakesh, Morocco, where they had spent two weeks in Feb. 1971. Depicted in the painting is Schlesinger with his back facing the artist, as he looks into the wilds that lie beyond their hotel terrace in Marrakesh.

Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) sold for a record-breaking price last year

Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)

Study for Sur la Terrasse | Arts Council Collection

The painting marks a turning point in the artist’s personal and professional lives. It is Hockney’s last depiction of Peter Schlesinger before their relationship ended. A study for this present painting is now in Arts Council Collection.

Sur la Terrasse has been kept in the private hands for nearly 40 years. It will make its auction debut at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 13 November. The auction house has not yet revealed other highlights featured in the sale except the cover lot – Hurting the Word Radio #2 by Ed Ruscha – which is expected to fetch US$30m-40m.

Ed Ruscha. Hurting the Word Radio #2 | US$30m-40m

Auction details

Auction house: Christie’s New York
Sale: Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale
Sale date: 13 November 2019 | 7pm