David Hockney – a pioneering artist in the field of pop art – once said, “Everyone knows a splash can’t be frozen in time, so when you see it like that in a painting it’s even more striking than in a photograph.” Fast forward to 2020, the British artist’s work, a piece titled The Splash proved the statement true by becoming the winning piece of Sotheby‘s Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London recently.
Completed in 1966, this iconic piece was sold for £23.1 million, nearly eight times more than the price it fetched during its last trip to the auction block in 2006. The Splash is the second in the series of three masterpieces, along with Tate’s A Bigger Splash and The Little Splash that captures the action of water splashing right after a person dives into a pool.
Hockney, who moved from London to Los Angeles, was impressed by the city’s vibrant colours, bright sunshine and lifestyle, especially its plethora of private swimming pools, thus occurring in many of his works like the Picture of a Hollywood Swimming Pool that was auctioned at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction last November in New York.
In all, this Sotheby’s auction netted an impressive total sales figure of £92.5 million, with stand-out performers including Banksy’s Vote to Love, Francis Bacon’s Turning Figure and more.