David Hockney: Is he a Guaranteed Investment?

Investing Guide
David Hockney, May Blossom on the Roman Road, 2009

David Hockney is an English artist who has worked across multiple mediums, including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, and stage design. In terms of fame and popularity, he would be considered in the top 5 English artists in most peoples books.

Hockney is known for his bright and bold use of color in his portraits and landscapes, which often feature a flat, two-dimensional style and exaggerated perspectives. He is also known for his experimentation with new forms of media, including photocollage and iPads, which have expanded the possibilities of contemporary art. Throughout his career, Hockney has produced a large body of work that ranges from portraits of friends and family, to landscapes of California and Yorkshire, to abstract works inspired by his travels and interest in Eastern art. He has also been an influential figure in the LGBTQ community, having depicted homosexuality and same-sex relationships in his work for decades.

Photograph: David Parry/National Portrait Gallery/PA

David Hockney at his exhibition Drawing from Life at the National Portrait Gallery

Unfortunately, being so incredibly popular, unauthorized copies of Hockney’s work are frequently introduced to the market, as fraudsters try to take advantage of the huge demand for his work.

To avoid purchasing a fake print, it is important to only buy from reputable dealers or auction houses that have a proven track record of selling authentic works by the artist. Additionally, buyers can familiarize themselves with the artist’s editions and print runs of specific works (google is your friend here), to better identify authentic prints. The David Hockney Foundation are also helpful if you ever need to ask about the authenticity of an artwork by the artist.

David Hockney, Part of the The Arrival of Spring Series, 2010-2011

That being said, David Hockney is widely considered a great investment for art collectors, as his work has consistently increased in value over time. To maximize the potential return on investment, it is important to purchase works that are in good condition, have a strong provenance, and are representative of the artist’s best and most iconic works.

The best period of his career to invest in depends on several factors, including personal preference and market conditions. However, some of his most iconic and sought-after works were created during the following periods:

  1. 1960s and 1970s: This period includes some of Hockney’s best-known works, such as his swimming pool paintings, portraits of friends and lovers, and his early experiments with photocollage.
  2. 1980s and 1990s: During this period, Hockney’s work became increasingly large-scale and abstract, with a focus on the California landscape. His paintings from this period often feature bright and bold colors, and are characterized by his use of flat, simplified forms.
  3. Digital and iPad works: In the 21st century, Hockney has experimented with new forms of technology, including digital and iPad paintings. These works are considered innovative and have received critical acclaim, and they represent a new direction in Hockney’s artistic practice.

As I noted in 2022’s artist to watch, prices for Hockney’s work could likely increase after he passes away. This phenomenon is known as the “dead artist effect” and is a well-known trend in the art market. The dead artist effect occurs because the supply of an artist’s work is often limited after their death, and the demand for their work may increase as they are no longer producing new works and collectors regret not pursuing a Hockney for their collection sooner.


However, it is important to note that the dead artist effect is not guaranteed, and the value of an artist’s work can still decrease after their death. Market conditions, such as changes in the economy and shifts in public taste, can also have a significant impact on the value of an artist’s work. In saying that, Hockney has already experienced incredible staying power in the art market since the 1960s, is considered iconic, and has evolved many different styles over this time, so it is unlikely that tastes will turn against Hockney in any meaningful manner in my opinion.

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