New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANSlife) British painter David Hockneys ‘The Splash — undoubtedly one of the most iconic Pop art images of the 20th century — is set to make waves at Sothebys London auction this February. It is estimated to fetch between a whopping 20-30 million pounds.
Painted in 1966, ‘The Splash’ immortalizes a fleeting moment just seconds after a diver has broken the calm surface of a swimming pool. The painting’s protagonist is present, yet absent, masked by a torrent of displaced water.
The work is a quintessential example of Hockney’s lifelong fascination with the texture, appearance and depth of water – a fascination which culminated in one of the most celebrated and instantly recognizable bodies of work in 20th century art.
Sotheby’s described the work as “an icon of Pop that defined an era and also gave a visual identity to Los Angeles”.
The work is the second in a series of three ‘splashes’, the largest and final of which, ‘A Bigger Splash’ (95 by 96 inches), is a jewel in the Tate collection in London. With only a slight variation in composition, the version to be offered in February (72 by 72 inches) is a close sister to that in the Tate.
The other splash in the series ‘A Little Splash’, remains in a private collection, having never been offered publicly.
“I love the idea, first of all, of painting like Leonardo, all his studies of water, swirling things. And I loved the idea of painting this thing that lasts for two seconds; it takes me two weeks to paint this event that lasts for two seconds. 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,” Hockney had said about his series.
These paintings represent the apex of Hockney’s Californian fantasy. Created at a watershed moment in his career, the three ‘splashes’ secured the artist’s international reputation as a leading artist of his generation.
The inspiration for the present work – with its cropped composition, angled diving board, and flat-roofed building – came from a photograph he saw in a Hollywood magazine on how to build swimming pools.
‘The Splash’ will go on view at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, Taipei, New York and London prior to the Contemporary Art Evening Auction on February 11.