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Hockney painting to headline Phillips' New York Evening Sale of 20th Century and Contemporary Art
David Hockney, A Neat Lawn, 1967, Estimate: $12-18 million. Image courtesy of Phillips.

NEW YORK, NY.- David Hockney’s seminal painting, A Neat Lawn, will lead Phillips’ 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 23 June 2021 in New York. Belonging to a series of monumental canvases painted in 1967, the work stands a remarkable eight-feet tall and now comes to auction for the first time in fifteen years, estimated to bring $12-18 million.

Robert Manley, Phillips’ Deputy Chairman and Co-Head of 20th Century and Contemporary Art states, “A Neat Lawn is one of the most significant examples of Hockney’s “California Dreaming” paintings, long considered among his greatest achievements. A Neat Lawn comes on the heels of Phillips’ spectacular sale of Nichols Canyon, which soared over $41 million, achieving the world record for a landscape by David Hockney. We are thrilled to offer another iconic Hockney, marking the apex of his decades-long love affair with California.”

A Neat Lawn presents a Los Angelesian house set against a bright blue sky with a perfectly tended lawn nurtured by a sprinkler, the spewing spindrifts offering the only indication of movement in an otherwise static scene. The work demonstrates one of Hockney’s first sustained experimentations on the dynamics of light and water, as exemplified in the strong shadows cast by the eave and across the hedges as well as the glistening blades of grass.

A year after its execution, A Neat Lawn was first shown alongside A Bigger Splash and A Lawn Sprinkler in 1968 at the artist’s sensational solo show at Kasmin Gallery, London, a pivotal show that brought him to international acclaim.

Hockney took his first trip to Los Angeles in 1964 and was immediately enthralled with the sunlight, pools, and glitz and glamor of the city he had only thus far experienced through magazines and film. However, it was not until 1967 when teaching a graduate course at the University of California in Berkeley that Hockney was afforded the opportunity to celebrate his muse-city on an epic scale. In A Neat Lawn, the ostensible subject of Hockney’s gaze is a modest structure, typical of the suburban middle-class neighborhoods, located on 1033 South Bedford Street—just blocks away from Hockney’s home at the time. Exemplifying the artist’s earliest investigations into coalescing his enchantment with the suburban landscape and lifestyle, A Neat Lawn elevates the mundane to the monumental, transforming the shallow front yard of the property into a grand lawn and supersizing the innocuous structure to the majestic proportions of his sensibility.

The work previously held the world record for the artist at auction when it was last offered in 2006 and achieved $3.6 million.

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