David Hockney’s Sur la Terrasse (1971) will hit the auction block this fall at Christie’s. The painting, which has been in a private collection for nearly 40 years, will star in the auction house’s November 13th Post-War and Contemporary Art evening sale. It is estimated to bring in between $25 million and $45 million.
The large-scale work features Hockney’s final depiction of Peter Schlesinger, his first love, during the decline of their relationship. In it, Schlesinger is turned away from the painter, gazing out over the wilderness beyond the couple’s hotel terrace in Marrakesh. The themes of longing and enstrangement depicted were revisited in Hockney’s 1972 work Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), which briefly made him the world’s most expensive living artist after it sold at Christie’s for $90.3 million in 2018. (Jeff Koons’s Rabbit (1986) broke this record at $91.07 million just six months later.)
Ana Maria Celis, head of Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, said in a statement:
Sur la Terrasse is an extraordinarily beautiful work, which provides a window into the conclusion of David Hockney’s relationship with his muse and longtime love, Peter Schlesinger. This work marks a momentous turning point in the artist’s personal and professional lives.
The painting has not been exhibited publicly since 1973, and is on view at Christie’s Los Angeles as of October 15th.